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


OCTOBER 23, 2001

Janet Zeller (336) 982-2691
cell phone: (336) 977-2345
Don Moniak (803) 644-6953


Today at a press conference in Rock Hill, SC, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) announced the filing of a legal petition to block the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's proceedings for the extension of licenses for Duke Energy’s Catawba and McGuire nuclear power plants. In its October 23rd complaint, BREDL charged that Duke's re-licensing application is inadequate because of the omission of plutonium fuel use, and premature because Catawba 1, Catawba 2, and McGuire 2 have not operated for 20 years as required by NRC regulations. The motion to dismiss also cited the inadequacies of NRC's and Duke’s processes to evaluate plant aging and realistic terrorism threats.

The four Duke reactors are the first ice condenser nuclear plants to be considered for license extensions. In the dismissal motion, Don Moniak, who heads BREDL's Aiken, SC office, wrote, "McGuire and Catawba nuclear power plants are particularly vulnerable to acts of sabotage because of their meager, three-feet thick concrete containment structures. In addition, a subsidiary of the licensee is weakening security by actively developing the former buffer zones around both McGuire and Catawba."

BREDL contends that the failure to include consideration of the environmental impacts of plutonium fuel use at the reactors is a fatal flaw in the proceeding. Duke has clearly stated its intent to apply for a license amendment for plutonium fuel use at McGuire and Catawba.

"The potential adverse impacts of weapons-grade plutonium fuel must be evaluated now," said BREDL's Lou Zeller, coordinator of the group's Southern Anti-plutonium Campaign. He continued, "Partitioning this decision-making process is a clear violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. This process is unfair and abusive of the people of Charlotte and Rock Hill."

On June 13, 2001 Duke Energy submitted an application to the NRC to renew the operating licenses for McGuire Nuclear Station, Units 1 and 2, and Catawba Nuclear Stations, Units 1 and 2. The application notice was published in the Federal Register on July 16. Duke proposes to add twenty years to the existing 40-year operating licenses, thus running all four facilities up to 60 years, or until 2041 for the oldest unit (McGuire 1) to 2046 for the newest unit (Catawba 2).

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and concerned citizens testified today at the scoping hearing for Catawba. The NRC held the McGuire scoping hearing on September 25th. BREDL has led the opposition in the region to potential plutonium fuel use and has a six-year record of calling for realistic terrorism studies. BREDL has offices in Charlotte and Aiken.


More info: Oct. 23, 2001 petition to NRC