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Two men pleaded guilty today for their roles in creating false calibration certificates in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
According to court documents, Miguel Marcial Amaro, 56, of Newark, Delaware, and Martin Ramos, 52, of Levittown, Pennsylvania, worked for a company that provided acoustic emissions (AE) testing to nuclear power plants to detect structural defects in the plant’s equipment. Following the testing, Marcial and Ramos helped create and transmit final testing reports to the owners of the plants which, among other things, contained calibration certificates for the equipment used.
Between 2010 and 2021, Marcial was responsible for ensuring that the company’s AE testing equipment was calibrated annually; Ramos worked under Marcial as an engineer. The two men created numerous false calibration certificates for AE testing equipment, and 15 of these false certificates were sent a total of 29 times to nuclear plant owners as part of final testing reports required by the NRC. The falsified calibration certificates were discovered in 2021 during an external audit.
“Today, we hold defendants accountable for deliberately attempting to bypass testing protocols that are essential to keeping nuclear power plants safe,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). “We will continue to use all available enforcement authorities to support NRC’s efforts to ensure that nuclear energy is safely created.”
“Many thanks to the NRC and the ENRD for partnering in enforcement and ensuring the accuracy of inspection reports critical to the safe operation of nuclear power plants,” said U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. “My office takes safety matters such as these seriously, and these guilty pleas show that anyone seeking to evade nuclear testing protocols will be held accountable.”
“The NRC takes its mission of protecting public health and safety very seriously,” said Director Thomas G. Ashley Jr. of the NRC’s Office of Investigations. “It’s vital that employees at NRC-regulated entities act with integrity. Today’s announcement shows deliberate violations of NRC requirements will not be tolerated.”
Marcial and Ramos are scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 25, 2024. Each faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The NRC’s Office of Investigation conducted the investigation.
Senior Trial Attorney Daniel Dooher and Trial Attorney Rachel M. Roberts of ENRD’s Environmental Crimes Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Joan E. Burnes for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania are prosecuting the case.