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A-Plant Pact Fraud Charges Probed by FBI

From Times Wire Services

The FBI is investigating allegations of contract fraud at an Ohio plant that makes material for nuclear weapons, an FBI spokesman said Friday.

Bureau spokesman Edwin Boldt said from Cincinnati that the investigation was triggered by an allegation of criminal wrongdoing in contracting. He gave no details but said the investigation is only preliminary.

Pete Kelley, a spokesman for Westinghouse Materials Co., which operates the plant, said he knew nothing of the FBI investigation. Westinghouse took over operations at the plant from National Lead Co. of Ohio about three years ago.

Target of Another Probe

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The Fernald plant, where production was suspended earlier this week, is also the target of a special investigation by an Energy Department team assessing health and safety measures and other aspects of the plant’s operation.

The Energy Department, which owns the Feed Materials Production Center, admitted last year that thousands of tons of radioactive waste have been emitted into the air and water since the plant opened in the early 1950s. Neighbors filed a class-action lawsuit against the government, and a hearing on a tentative settlement is scheduled for next month.

The Fernald complex, about 18 miles northwest of Cincinnati, is a key contributor to U.S. nuclear weapons production. It also is one of the government’s most seriously contaminated facilities, officials have said.

The Environmental Protection Agency this week proposed adding Fernald to the Superfund list of high-priority cleanup sites.

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