US Navy instructors accused of cheating in nuclear reactor exams

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2014, 9:56am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 February, 2014, 3:08am

About 30 instructors who train US sailors on the running of nuclear reactors are under investigation for cheating on a written exam, navy commanders said.

The allegations raised fresh questions about ethics problems in the military, and follow another cheating scandal that has implicated nearly 20 per cent of the US Air Force's nuclear missile officers.

The suspected cheating took place at the navy's nuclear propulsion programme in Charleston, South Carolina, where a sailor alerted senior officers to the problem, commanders said.

The instructors, who also oversee the running of the reactors, are required to be regularly re-certified to teach fellow sailors and must pass written, oral and hands-on tests.

"The propulsion exam was allegedly shared amongst some senior enlisted operators," said Admiral Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations.

"To say that I'm disappointed would be an understatement. If these allegations are substantiated we will hold the ... appropriate people accountable."

Admiral John Richardson, head of the propulsion programme, declined to say how many sailors were under investigation.

But another navy official said that about 30 instructors were suspected of sharing the answers to the written exam.

Richardson said he took "full responsibility for this incident".

But he said there was no doubt that the military's nuclear reactors "are operating safely".

A separate cheating scandal by "missileers" in the air force has implicated 92 officers out of the 500-strong member corps.