Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, PO Box 88 Glendale Springs, NC 28629

Center for Safe Energy, 2812 Cherry Street Berkeley, California 94705

Center for Nuclear Ecology & Energy Policy, ul. Krupskaya, 8-1-187 117311 Moscow, Russia


Charlotte, March 12, 1999

Janet M. Zeller 336-977-2345 mobile; 704-826-8116
Fran Macy 510-540-7120
Lydia Popova +7-095-131 70 12

Russian and American Groups Join to Stop Plutonium Fuel

Today at a press conference in Charlotte, community leaders from Russia and North Carolina announced the creation of a coalition to stop the use of plutonium fuel in nuclear power plants in Russia and America. The coalition of citizen organizations in both countries is committed to convincing Duke Energy to abandon its plans to use such fuel at the McGuire and Catawba reactors.

A delegation of Russian specialists on nuclear energy and radioactive waste are touring the Southeast to exchange information on the dangers of using plutonium in civilian reactors.

At the press briefing, Russian scientists reported on the unsuccessful and hazardous experiments with plutonium fuel in Russia. Leonid Piskounov, a specialist on radiation safety and a Ph.D. in physics from the Ural Mountains nuclear complex, said, "Our monitoring revealed radioactive contamination thirty miles from the nuclear power plant using plutonium.

Other Russian leaders reported today on the public opposition in their cities to the introduction of plutonium in the civilian power plants in their region. Oleg Bodrov, a nuclear physicist from St. Petersburg, said, "We are educating the public about the adverse health, economic, and environmental impacts of the plutonium fuel program because the nuclear industry keeps this information secret."

The organizers of the tour of the Russian delegation are the Center for Nuclear Ecology and Energy Policy in Moscow, the Center for Safe Energy in California, and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service in Washington, DC. The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League is hosting events in Charlotte.

This month the US Department of Energy is expected to award the design contract for the plutonium fuel program. A consortium led by Duke Energy is the only applicant for this contract.

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