A longtime Alabama attorney and businessman is challenging Southern Company's fitness to own and operate a nuclear power plant in Georgia. Donald V. Watkins and his son, Donald V. Watkins Jr., filed documents on Friday (2/3/23) with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), claiming Southern Company has engaged in racketeering schemes that render it unfit to operate the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant near Waynesboro, GA.
What is the gist of the Watkins argument? He claims Southern Company has engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity, often involving the Matrix LLC political-consulting firm of Montgomery, AL, that has harmed numerous victims -- including Watkins and his son -- and should disqualify Southern Company from holding a license to operate Plant Vogtle.
The complaint, filed with NRC Chairman Christopher T. Hanson, cites law that appears to raise serious questions about the license Southern Company and its affiliates hold on Plant Vogtle. That is particularly the case given the filing comes on the heels of a criminal complaint, under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations ACT (RICO) Watkins brought in late January against Southern Company, Alabama Power, Matrix LLC, Matrix founder/owner Joe Perkins, and others working in concert with them.
What is the law that appears to support the NRC complaint? Watkins explains it, and its possible repercussions, in a post at his Web site, donaldwatkins.com:
We believe that Section 2133(d) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, prohibits any regulated person or entity that knowingly participated in an ongoing racketeering enterprise from owning and operating nuclear power facilities in the U.S. Section 2133(d) expressly states that “no license may be issued to any person within the United States if, in the opinion of the Commission, the issue of a license to such person would be inimical to the common defense and security or to the health and safety of the public.” By definition, a person/entity that operates a multi-state racketeering enterprise poses a great danger to America’s national security and public safety.We requested the NRC to: (i) immediately open a licensure and regulatory compliance investigation into this matter, in parallel with the Department of Justice’s criminal investigation; (ii) review the investigatory findings regarding the fitness of Southern Company affiliates to retain their participation as an operator (for Southern Nuclear) and principal owner (for Georgia Power) in the NRC licenses for Vogtle Nuclear Power Units 1, 2, 3, and 4, (iii) hold a public hearing on the identified licensure matter, and (iv) determine what legal action by the NRC, if any, appears to be warranted and appropriate in connection with this licensure and regulatory compliance complaint.
Is the status of Southern Company's license to operate Plant Vogtle on shaky ground? Watkins points in his post to signs that the company has not been forthcoming about the legal morass caused by its relationship with Matrix LLC:
Southern Company, acting by and through Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc., and Georgia Power Company, is involved in the ownership structure and operational control of Vogtle. Southern Nuclear is the designated “Operator” of Vogtle, while Georgia Power owns a 45.7% equity stake in this facility.
In recent months, the Southern Company has been seeking a non-prosecution agreement from the Department of Justice on behalf of itself, Alabama Power, and Georgia Power. All three companies are directly implicated in our Criminal RICO Complaint as culpable parties in the Southern Company’s longtime, multi-state, racketeering enterprise. All three companies used Matrix and Perkins to maul innocent victims during their ongoing racketeering scheme.
It does not appear that the Southern Company, or Southern Nuclear, or Georgia Power has disclosed this critical licensure-related information to the NRC while they await final regulatory approval to bring Vogtle Nuclear Power Units 3 and 4 online this year.Likewise, Southern Company has not disclosed its detrimental business relationship with Matrix or Perkins in any regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. On January 25, 2023, Florida Power & Light and NextEra Energy made such a disclosure in their Form 8-K filing.
What is it like to have Southern Company, Matrix, and their associates target you? Watkins makes clear that it is not pleasant:
Over the past two decades, the Southern Company, Alabama Power Company, and Georgia Power Company paid Matrix, LLC, and Joe Perkins (Matrix's owner) tens of millions of dollars to act as their special breed of well-fed, zealously protected, vicious, pit bulls. From time to time, these electric utility companies would let Matrix and Perkins out of their kennels and direct them to maul critics, political adversaries, and anybody else who posed a real or perceived threat to their (a) monopoly in electrical power generation and (b) longtime suppression of effective regulatory oversight.
An example of this proverbial pit bull mauling is described in Joe Perkins' 13-pages handwritten notes of his plan to maul me to death. The notes speak for themselves.
I survived the mauling by Matrix, Perkins, and those who acted in concert with them.
My son and I were not the only victims of the Southern Company's reign of terror. I have spoken to other victims of the racketeering scheme operated by the Southern Company, Alabama Power Company, Georgia Power Company, Matrix, Perkins, and those entities and persons who acted in concert with them over the years.