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


APRIL 27, 2004

Louis Zeller:
cell (704) 756-7550
office (336) 982-2691

Citizens Charge US With Nuclear Treaty Violation

Today at a press conference at the United Nations, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League charged the United States with violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and called for international inspections of weapons facilities in South Carolina.

Louis Zeller, BREDL campaign coordinator, outlined the risks of violating the treaty, saying, "The United States is funding a new nuclear bomb factories at a dangerous time. The eyes of the world are on us. The United States cannot continue to break a law which is vital ending the worldwide threat of nuclear weapons." The NPT was signed into law in 1969 and requires nations with nuclear weapons to abolish them to prevent other nations from acquiring them. Zeller wrote part of the statement being delivered at the UN's annual meeting on the treaty.

An excerpt from the non-governmental organization's (NGO) statement to the Preparatory Committee Meeting of the States Party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty delivered this day at the UN states: "A half century of radioactive contamination is causing an invisible yet real epidemic. The cumulative impact of new plutonium plants and past contamination at SRS would result in more death and disease to the people in this region."

Zeller cited government documents, testimony, and financial figures which detail US violations: the 2005 US budget allocates 336 million dollars for a new factory to make plutonium weapons and over 6 billion dollars on nuclear weapons development; a Bush Administration report to Congress acknowledges that the US is doing weapons research which was prohibited in 1994; and, the US, unlike Russia, has failed to ratify a treaty to prohibit all testing of nuclear weapons. The Savannah River Site is considered by many to be a leading contender for the new plutonium weapons plant.

Zeller concluded, "Nuclear rivalry halted with the end of the Cold War, but today it is being re-ignited by the actions of the United States. South Carolina should not be the cradle of a new nuclear arms race."


Press Statement of Louis Zeller
April 27, 2004

For two decades, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League has worked to block nuclear waste dumps and other dangerous nuclear projects. Over the last few years we have become increasingly alarmed about activities at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. SRS is a 310 square mile federal complex employing more than 12,000 people largely involved with managing the toxic legacy of the Cold War. Environmental cleanup at SRS is a massive undertaking complicated by new polluting activities from ongoing tritium production, new plutonium disposition plans, and the real threat of a new atomic bomb plant.

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League opposes the United States Department of Energy's proposal to build new plutonium warheads at the Savannah River Site or any of the sites proposed by the US Department of Energy. Simply stated, the United States does not need more nuclear weapons. The Department of Energy falsely claims that aging plutonium may be unreliable. When pressed for proof, the Department of Energy admits that no plutonium problems due to aging have been identified. None. Rather, the purpose of the plant would be new nuclear weapons.

The Savannah River Site in South Carolina has other new fissile materials facilities already scheduled for construction. Under a program to fuel commercial nuclear power reactors with weapons-grade plutonium, the Department of Energy seeks to build a plutonium fuel factory at the Savannah River Site. Federal funding for plutonium fuel would support new weapons capability; fuel operations will include a new plant to purify plutonium by liquid acid processing which is also essential for production of nuclear weapons. A new nuclear warhead plant proposed by the National Nuclear Security Agency could produce up to 450 new plutonium triggers annually for both current weapons and nuclear weapons yet to be designed. Business leaders and elected officials in South Carolina are lobbying for the new bomb plant to be built there, too.

The US Department of Energy published its plans for weapons production at SRS in a report entitled, Managing the Nation's Nuclear Materials: The 2025 Vision for the Department of Energy. The most ominous statements are: "dormant elements of the nuclear forces must be reconstituted," and "there is an opportunity to use the Savannah River Site canyons to process surplus residual plutonium that is considered separable into weapons-grade plutonium." In 2005 the federal budget includes $6.57 billion for nuclear weapons research and development nationwide.

The central issue before us today is United States violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Construction of new weapons is immoral, unnecessary and illegal. In 1969 Congress ratified and President Nixon signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty which commits the nation to stop nuclear testing, to eliminate stockpiles, to end the manufacture of nuclear weapons, and to put an end to the arms race. We submit that the United States is now the principal violator of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Therefore, we ask all who hear this message to support the "People's Resolution for United States Adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty" and to mobilize public opinion for nuclear disarmament. We must prevent the South from becoming the cradle of a new arms race. Our lives depend on it. No new nuclear weapons at Savannah River.


Louis A. Zeller
Southern Anti-Plutonium Campaign Coordinator

More info: See and sign the resolution