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


April 7, 2005

Louis Zeller (336) 982-2691 office,
(704) 756-7550 cell
Jerry Rudolph (803) 238-1418
Glenn Carroll (843) 883-3881


Today at a press conference in Columbia, citizens groups called on Governor Mark Sanford to halt the impending plutonium fuel shipments through South Carolina and to demand terrorism safeguards at the Catawba nuclear station. Organizations from three states stood before a full-size replica of a nuclear transport cask and delivered two requests: 1) That the Governor notify the US Department of Energy that they must not ship plutonium fuel until South Carolinians can be assured of absolute security and 2) That the Governor initiate an independent study of the security measures against terrorism in South Carolina related to Duke Power’s proposed plutonium fuel tests.

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League said that the security requirements in Duke’s license amendment must be fulfilled before accepting the plutonium fuel. Lou Zeller, the League’s nuclear campaign coordinator, said, “We cannot pretend that the terrible events of September 11, 2001 never occurred. Duke’s exemption from security measures is cost-cutting at the expense of public safety.”

The Carolina Peace Resource Center, based in Columbia, appealed to Sanford for immediate action. Jerry Rudolph of CPRC said, “Our state motto is ‘Prepared in mind and resources.’ We hope our Governor will respond to our requests before the shipments arrive.”

The League challenged Duke’s application for an exemption from Nuclear Regulatory Commission security regulations, rules which increased the level of protection required to defend against the more aggressive assaults predicted after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As a result, on March 10, 2005 the NRC issued the license with conditions which must be implemented before Duke can accept the plutonium fuel.

A letter from the League’s attorney to the US Department of Energy states, “It would not only be unlawful for Duke to receive the plutonium MOX fuel before it has fulfilled the conditions and received approval from the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission], it would pose an unacceptable danger to public security.”

Activists are conducting a seaside vigil to alert residents to the arrival of the nuclear fuel. Glenn Carroll, Coordinator of Georgians Against Nuclear Energy, said, “We are monitoring the plutonium ship’s arrival and the MOX transport to Catawba to inform the public of the risks of transporting this dangerous nuclear weapons material.”

In Charleston, several groups, including Charleston Peace, Georgians Against Nuclear Energy (GANE) and Greenpeace International, have established a 24-hour watch of the port to monitor arrival of the ship carrying the plutonium fuel from Europe. The Pacific Pintail, which will carry the plutonium fuel into the Charleston Naval Weapons Station for off-loading, is anticipated to arrive at any time and will pass directly in front of the groups’ “beach watch” on Sullivan’s Island.

Once the plutonium fuel is off-loaded two truck convoys will take place; one with four fuel assemblies going to the Catawba reactor near Rock Hill and the other with scrap plutonium going to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Because weapons-grade plutonium is contained in the fuel, both convoys are anticipated to be carried out with large security escorts.


More info: Letter to SC Governor Mark Sanford