PO Box 88 ~ Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone (336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email:


April 16, 2001

Don Moniak (803) 644-6953
Lou Zeller (336) 982-2691


Today, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) released documents challenging the plutonium fuel factory proposed for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Savannah River Site (SRS) near Aiken, South Carolina. In a letter written to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), BREDL contends that the Duke Cogema Stone and Webster (DCS) plutonium factory license application is fatally flawed and should be rejected. The group also contends that DOE must complete a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

BREDL maintains its position that the plutonium fuel project is unnecessary and dangerous, and advocates reallocating the hundreds of millions of dollars to restore funding for plutonium storage and immobilization. “The Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are allowing a dishonest use of U.S. nuclear nonproliferation funding to subsidize a physical and regulatory plutonium fuel infrastructure in the U.S. and Russia,” said BREDL Community Organizer Don Moniak of Aiken, South Carolina.

DOE’s Response on Previously Unreported Radioactive Waste is Inadequate

This past January BREDL called upon DOE to halt the plutonium fuel facility project because of the massive estimated increase in liquid radioactive waste generation during plutonium purification operations (Figure 1); and the failure of the contractor, Duke Cogema Stone and Webster (DCS) to formulate a plan for treating and disposing of the waste.

In response to BREDL’s letter documenting this radical, expensive, and dangerous change, DOE officials reported that it

“anticipates a number of changes” of this magnitude during the design phase of the project. (

“So far, DOE is overlooking the contractual obligation Duke, Cogema, Stone and
Webster has to manage all radioactive waste, and NRC is simply looking the other way,”
commented Lou Zeller of BREDL’s Glendale Springs, North Carolina office.

NRC Failed to Respond to License Application Deficiencies

Last month BREDL requested (letter attached) that the NRC reject DCS’ Construction
Authorization Request
, citing some of the following concerns:

DCS is attempting to evade NRC oversight of the radioactive waste management;

DCS justified its failure to submit an emergency management plan by claiming that the public radiation dose during a major accident would be within regulatory limits--even though
the regulatory limits are 5-6 times greater than the average annual “background” radiation dose;

DCS based its application on the environmental compliance history of Savannah River Site, not on its own environmental record;

The plutonium fuel factory has no licensed customers for its product;

DCS submitted a financial report to the NRC for Fiscal Year 1999 but has yet to submit a financial report for Fiscal year 2000.

Although the NRC wrote to BREDL on March 28 that “a response is under preparation
which will be forwarded to you shortly
,” no response has been forthcoming.

Representatives from BREDL will be available for media interviews at the NRC’s public
meetings being held this week:

April 17 from 5-7 p.m. at the North Augusta Community Center, 496 Brookside Avenue, North Augusta, SC;

April 18 from 5-7 p.m. at the Georgia Coastal Center, 305 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Savannah, GA.


More info: BREDL March 23, 2001 letter to NRC Chairman Richard Meserve requesting for NRC denial of MFFF Construction Authorization Request

BREDL request for Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Surplus Plutonium Disposition and Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility

Southern Anti-Plutonium Campaign: