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


DEC. 1, 2003

Louis Zeller (704) 756-7550
Diane Curran (202) 328-3500

BREDL Challenges Duke Energy Plutonium Fuel Test

Hearing Before Federal Panel in Charlotte This Week

On Wednesday, December 3rd, representatives of the southeastern regional Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League will argue against plutonium fuel testing at Duke Energy’s Catawba nuclear plant at an ajudicatory hearing before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The hearing will begin at 9:00 AM at the federal courthouse in Charlotte, NC.

Diane Curran of the DC firm of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg and Eisenberg will detail deficiencies in nuclear safety and public health protection in Duke Energy’s proposal to test plutonium in its Catawba nuclear power station; tests are slated to begin in 2005. Ms. Curran has appeared in many previous actions before the NRC and is regarded as a foremost expert on the National Environmental Policy Act and the Atomic Energy Act.

Dr. Ed Lyman, a physicist with the UCS, will testify as an expert witness for BREDL. Dr. Lyman has evaluated the health and environmental risks of the plutonium testing program. In addition, he is an expert in the dangers of ice condenser reactors. The Catawba reactors pose specific problems for criticality accidents and, as BREDL maintains, are the least safe reactors in the country for experimental use of weapons-grade plutonium. Recent BREDL challenges to the proposed plutonium fuel project include:

Requested re-instatement of BREDL contention one regarding anticipated plutonium fuel use at Catawba and McGuire nuclear plants on April 16, 2003

Appeal to the full NRC of the 2-1 decision by the ASLB panel’s rejection of BREDL’s contention two regarding severe accident mitigation at ice condenser reactors on November 4, 2003.

Lawsuit with Greenpeace International to implement safe containment standards for plutonium shipments and to challenge the export license for plutonium shipments on November 26, 2003. BREDL members in tidewater Virginia and in Charleston, SC signed affidavits.

On November 3rd, BREDL achieved a significant victory resulting in DOE’s realignment of the boundary for the proposed plutonium fuel factory at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. This decision will result in an indeterminate delay in the fuel factory program. BREDL maintains that the entire program is in disarray. Previous BREDL case filings can be found at


More Info:

Dec. 03, 2003: BREDL's second supplemental petition before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board to intervene to set forth contentions. | Dr. Edwin Lyman's Declaration in support of BREDL contentions.


Re-licensing of Duke Energy's McGuire & Catawba Nuclear Power Plants