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


JUNE 3, 2003

Louis Zeller (704) 756-7550 (cell phone)
Charles Utley (706) 772-5558
Janet Zeller (336) 982-2691



Today at a press conference in Augusta, Georgia, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League announced that the international campaign to stop plutonium fuel has succeeded in delaying funding but at the cost of an erosion of civil rights.

The Rev. Charles Utley, BREDL's Central Savannah River Area campaign director, said,  "We are pleased by the failure of the G-8 nations to come to agreement on funding for plutonium fuel.  But we are saddened by the arrest of 12 activists who were staging a peaceful demonstration outside the Ministry of atomic power in Russia.  Police action against peaceful protest is an attempt to stop people from expressing their opinion.  Today, we join our Russian brothers and sisters and say: Stop Plutonium!"

BREDL released the letter which it sent to the heads of state of all the G-8 nations.  The letter was signed by 19 non-governmental organizations in Great Britain, Russia, and the United States.  The letter said,  "On behalf of the people of all nations who want a future free of nuclear dangers, we urge you to prevent the funding of nuclear programs which use plutonium for reactor fuel.  At the 2003 meeting of the Group of Eight (G-8) nations in Evian, France, you have an opportunity to prohibit financial support for this dangerous plan."

BREDL's Lou Zeller said that, although the meeting of G-8 nations had previously pledged $800 million for the Russian plutonium project-half of that coming from the United States, the total bill for new facilities in Russia would be $2 billion.  Both the Clinton and Bush administrations have supported proposals for funding the Russian plutonium fuel program.  Under an agreement signed by Russia and the US, plutonium fuel facility construction and operation  in both countries must proceed in parallel.

BREDL's letter was signed by the leaders of six Russian organizations including Vladimir Slivyak, Co-chairman of the Russian citizens' group Ecodefense.  Mr. Slivyak said,  "Using plutonium as a fuel for nuclear power plants may lead to nuclear accidents and plutonium pollution of the Russian territories. It also gives the possibility of nuclear material theft and proliferation."  He added, "Plutonium must be immobilized and never used again."  Mr. Sliviak was one of the 12 activists arrested at the protest in Moscow.

Last year the U.S. Department of Energy cancelled the proposed plutonium immobilization project at SRS.  BREDL maintains that this change creates a large quantity of contaminated plutonium waste that would be processed at proposed plutonium fuel factory at SRS which requires DOE to submit a supplemental environmental impact statement.  The DOE has failed to comply with this  requirement.  Mr. Zeller said that BREDL's campaign would continue.

BREDL is a 19 year old grassroots environmental organization with chapters in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.   Since 1998 BREDL's Southern Anti-plutonium Campaign has raised public health and safety concerns about the US Department of Energy's plutonium fuel program at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and Duke Energy reactors near Charlotte, North Carolina.


More Info:

May 30, 2003: Letter to Heads of State of the Group of Eight Nations from Non-governmental Organizations opposing Plutonium Fuel


On May 27, 2003, twelve Russian activists were arrested near the Ministry of atomic power in Moscow for speaking out in opposition to plutonium fuel (MOX).  Vladimir Slivyak, Co-chairman for Ecodefense in Moscow, was one of those arrested. He said, “There were no breakings of law during this demonstration. It starts to look like police action against protesters on principal level, an attempt to make people believe it's better not to express opinions publicly. We also know that police were acting with advise from Ministry of atomic power which asked them to put as hard as possible charges on activists.”

photos and video can be seen at


Vladimir Slivyak, co-chairman for Ecodefense
phone/fax +7(095)2784642, 7766281
Nizhegorodskaya 70-2-5
109052 Moscow, Russia