BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE
On Thursday, January 15th, representatives of the southeastern regional Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League will argue against plutonium fuel testing at Duke Energys Catawba nuclear plant at a second 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 on Tryon Street in Charlotte, NC.
BREDL will present new information about safety concerns raised by French scientists about plutonium fuel in that nations reactors. The IRSN (Institut de Radioprotection et de Surete Nucleaire) has determined that plutonium fuel rods, also known as MOX, fail at far lower temperatures, 400-570 degrees-F lower, than traditional uranium fuel rods. Also, the metal sheath, or cladding, which holds the fuel rod together may form balloons which would block cooling water, leading to an uncontrolled core meltdown.
BREDLs attorney Diane Curran last appeared before the ASLB in December 2003 to describe deficiencies in Duke Energys proposal to test plutonium in its Catawba nuclear power station in 2005. At this weeks hearing she will detail BREDLs additional contentions filed in December based on this and other new information.
Dr. Ed Lyman, a senior nuclear physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists will testify as an expert witness for BREDL. Dr. Lyman has done extensive evaluations of the dangers of the plutonium fuel program and ice condenser reactors such as Catawba.
Recent BREDL challenges to the proposed plutonium fuel project include:
In November BREDL achieved a significant victory resulting in DOEs 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.
Janet Zeller (336) 982-2691
Louis Zeller (704) 756-7550
Diane Curran (202) 328-3500