Monday, February 6, 2023

Donald Watkins files complaint with Nuclear Regulatory Commission, claiming Southern Company is unfit to operate Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia

Plant Vogtle

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,

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.


Anonymous said...

legalschnauzer said...

Is This part of DeSantis' "War on the Woke"?

legalschnauzer said...

The public should be deeply grateful For the heat Donald Watkins is keeping on Southern Company. The company has earned all the scrutiny it is getting.

legalschnauzer said...

Here's a common-sense question: If Southern Company is found, perhaps via Watkins' RICO complaint, to have engaged in a criminal racketeering enterprise, does anyone feel comfortable about such an entity being in charge of a nuclear power plant? I sure don't, and at the moment, there appears to be quite a bit of evidence to support such a criminal finding.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is the law from which Watkins' complaint is based: 42 U.S.Code 2133(d) --

". . . no license may be issued to any person within the United States if, in the opinion of the Commission, the issuance of a license to such person would be inimical to the common defense and security or to the health and safety of the public."

That's from the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.

legalschnauzer said...

This is from the same part of Sec. 2133(d):

"No license may be issued to an alien or any any 1 corporation or other entity if the Commission knows or has reason to believe it is owned, controlled, or dominated by an alien, a foreign corporation, or a foreign government."

We take two key points from this, plus the above comment:

(1) The U.S. does not want nuclear facilities to be operated by foreign governments or corporations.

(2) The U.S. does not want nuclear facilities to be operated by domestic corporations that are found to have engaged in criminal racketeering enterprises.

Why? Nuclear facilities are potentially hazardous, even deadly, and operators must be committed to the security and safety of the United States -- and they should function with high levels of integrity.

legalschnauzer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
legalschnauzer said...

After Watkins cites Sec. 2133(d), as outlined above, here is the gist of his legal argument:

"By definition, a person/entity that operates a multi-state racketeering enterprise poses a great danger to America’s national security and public safety."

I would say he pretty much nails it with that.

legalschnauzer said... has an insightful post about the Watkins NRC filing. We encourage readers to check it out here:

The hedline: Nuked! RICO Victims Wage Formal Complaints against Southern Company before Nuclear Regulatory Commission

legalschnauzer said...

Here are key points from

Southern Company’s licenses and authority to operate nuclear power plants are in grave jeopardy.

Multiple RICO victims have filed complaints with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to revoke and/or postpone the issuance of licenses, and are calling for formal NRC hearings on the fitness of Southern Company to operate these facilities.

Sources tell us that Southern Company failed to inform the NRC that they had hired King & Spalding to conduct an internal probe of misconduct related to the criminal enterprise.

The move will undoubtedly postpone the launch of reactors 3 and 4 at the Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant in Georgia, now six years late and at least $16 billion over budget. dropped the bomb and broke the news late Friday on just one of multiple complaints lodged against Southern:

Anonymous said...

Question: who will take over? If this RICO is successful, who can be trusted to step in? Will they too be corrupted by the wealth opportunities and the power they are given? How will THEY be managed? We all need our electricity. How will we ever get it affordable , fairly, and without enriching layers of corruption? I just wonder if anyone is ready for the necessary cleansing this could involve. Is there anyone capable of ethically unraveling this?

legalschnauzer said...

You raise a lot of excellent questions, 10:19. I don't have the answers, but I will keep your questions in mind going forward. Yes, somebody might need to step in, and it will need to be somebody -- or a group of somebodies -- who is committed to acting with integrity. Where do you find folks like that in today's environment? It's amazing that people at these important, public companies could be so arrogant, greedy, and reckless -- not to mention vindictive, thuggish, and in some instances, juvenile.