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Former V.C. Summer project director to plead to federal charge

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A former Westinghouse vice president and director of the V.C. Summer nuclear project will plead guilty Thursday to making a false statement to an FBI agent during the investigation of the failed project.

Carl Dean Churchman is scheduled to enter the plea at 10 a.m. at the Matthew J. Perry Federal Courthouse at 901 Richland St. before U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis, according to a news release from the office of Acting U.S. Attorney M. Rhett DeHart.

Westinghouse was the contractor for the troubled and ultimately abandoned effort to build twin nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer nuclear power station in Fairfield County. After years of rising costs and mounting delays, the project was scuttled in July 2017. Westinghouse, saddled with billions of dollars in cost overruns from the V.C. Summer debacle and from construction delays at a nuclear power plant in Georgia, declared bankruptcy in March of that year.

The V.C. Summer legal fallout has been ongoing. In November 2018, SCANA Corp. and former subsidiary S.C. Electric & Gas settled a lawsuit with SCE&G ratepayers for $2.2 million. A November 2020 settlement of a  Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit charging the companies with defrauding in investors followed.

On Feb. 24, 2021, former SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. In December 2020, Stephen Byrne, former SCANA executive vice president, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.  

SCANA was acquired by Dominion Energy in a $14.6 billion deal approved by the S.C. Public Service Commission in December 2018.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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