A former senior resident inspector for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission pleaded guilty on December 13 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia to making false statements on NRC inspection reports. Such false statements violate federal statutes and carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
The former inspector, Gregory Croon, 60, of Clarksville, Tenn., retired from the NRC in 2020. Sentencing in the case is scheduled for March 7, 2022.
“The accuracy of NRC inspection reports is critical to the NRC’s oversight of licensees’ safe operation of nuclear power plants around the nation,” said Robert Feitel, the NRC inspector general. “Croon’s false statements could have jeopardized that safety oversight function.”
The leg work: A joint investigation by the NRC’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section concluded that the inspector had intentionally falsified inspection reports between 2016 and 2018, when he worked at the North Anna nuclear power plant in Mineral, Va.
NRC OIG special agent Adan Tierney, assistant special agent in charge Todd Walker, technical advisor Terri Spicher, and DOJ trial attorneys conducted the investigation, which included numerous interviews of NRC and licensee personnel and the review of NRC and licensee records.
“The combined efforts of the NRC OIG special agents and our law enforcement partners yielded an appropriate and just result in this case,” Feitel said. “Nonetheless, it is vital to remember that we must all remain vigilant, watch for fraudulent activity, and report it promptly.”
The OIG’s role: The OIG has a responsibility to independently and objectively conduct audits and investigations to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of the NRC’s programs and operations.