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


November 15, 2001

Janet M. Zeller (336) 982-2691
Don Moniak (803) 644-6953
Catherine Mitchell (704) 545-9785


Despite U.S. government knowledge that terrorists were targeting nuclear plants, security risks have been downplayed for years by both industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, according to a Greenpeace report released Thursday. The report, Risky Business: The Probability and Consequences of a Nuclear Accident, co-released locally with the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, analyzes each of the 103 nuclear reactors operating in the U.S. and includes detailed maps of the consequences and fall out for the 12 worst reactor  sites. The Catawba reactors and McGuire reactors north and south of Charlotte figure prominently in the lists.

"The United States cannot be on high alert and then ignore the biggest threat sitting within its own borders." said Jim Riccio, Greenpeace Nuclear Campaign Coordinator. "The only way to secure our nuclear plants from terrorist sabotage or an accident is to immediately implement an emergency phase out plan for all reactors."

An accident at one of the nuclear reactors operating in the U.S. (many in densely populated areas) would kill or injure tens of thousands of people, cost billions of dollars and render many communities uninhabitable for years.  Safety system failures have contributed to the shutdown of several nuclear reactors since the 1990s.

The Greenpeace analysis uses, in part, the government's own studies, commissioned by the NRC and prepared by Sandia National Laboratory in 1981.

The most damaging portions of the report were withheld from public scrutiny until forced into the open by a formal request from then Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, Senator Edward Markey (D-MA.)

The report challenges the Bush administration plans announced earlier this year, to extend the licenses of nuclear reactors and subsidize the construction of new reactors.

"The events of September 11 have brought the issue of nuclear safety into the open. It's time to be realistic about the astronomical risks associated with this industry.  Why extend licenses of already existing plants and grant new licenses for power sources that constitute one of our worst national security threats? This industry is not safe and the recent scramble with liability coverage and exemption shows that industry knows that as well. " said Catherine Mitchell of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.

The Greenpeace report calls for the following:

1)  The federal government must phase out of nuclear power in the United States, shutting down the reactors that cause the greatest risk first.

2)  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission must not extend the licenses of nuclear reactors and rescind those licenses that have already been renewed.

3) New construction of nuclear reactors in the United States must be prohibited.

In addition, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League recommendations for North and South Carolina call for:

1) No extension of the Catawba and McGuire Nuclear Reactors. The proposed use of experimental plutonium fuel slated to begin in 2007 poses additional risk to the communities.

2)  Governor Easley and the North Carolina Department of Radiological Protection and Governor Hodges and the South Carolina DHEC should conduct independent evaluation of accident risk, terrorism risk and the potential radiological impact of all plants in North and South Carolina.

3) Evacuation and emergency management plans at McGuire and Catawba reactors must be reevaluated by local government and local communities immediately. Evacuation drills and worst case scenarios must be included.

More Info:

For a full copy of the report and detailed maps of the 12 worst nuclear reactors visit:    WWW.GREENPEACEUSA.ORG

For further nuclear information and information of North and South Carolina sites visit:    WWW.BREDL.ORG

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