BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE
PO Box 88 ~
Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone
(336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email:
OCTOBER 9, 2007
Louis Zeller (336) 982-2691
Glenn Carroll (404) 378-4263
Edwin Lyman (202) 223-6133
DELIVER BOMBSHELL TO PLUTONIUM FUEL AT SRS
Today two organizations announced the filing of a
legal challenge that could stop the construction of a
plutonium fuel factory at the Savannah River Site.
Nuclear Watch South and the Blue Ridge Environmental
Defense League uncovered information that the US
Department of Energy plans major modifications to the
proposed plutonium fuel factory.
The October 5th petition to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commissions Atomic Safety and Licensing Board read:
[T]he U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissions
environmental impact statement for the facility does not
address significant proposed changes in the U.S.
Department of Energys strategy for disposing of
surplus weapons-grade plutonium, which in turn would
require modifications to the design of the MOX plutonium
fuel processing facility.
Dr. Edwin Lyman is the expert witness for the new legal
challenge. Dr. Lyman, senior staff scientist at the Union
of Concerned Scientists, said, In its new plan, the
Energy Department has finally admitted that it cannot
make MOX fuel from much of the highly impure plutonium
waste it is sending to South Carolina without major
modifications to the plant design. These modifications
will result in significant additional environmental
impacts that will have to be analyzed.
The DOEs stunning failure forms the basis for
this legal challenge, said Louis Zeller, the Leagues
representative in the plutonium fuel case. The
federal government has jumped the gun by deciding to
bring plutonium from other states to SRS without an end
game. He continued, The people of the Central
Savannah River Area must not suffer from the federal
governments latest incompetence.
Glenn Carroll, Coordinator of Nuclear Watch South said,
Once again DOEs ready-shoot-aim approach to
plutonium disposition has shot its own program in the
foot. Its clear that the plutonium fuel factory has
to be redesigned yet again; construction and licensing
have to be halted. We should quit wasting time and tax
money on the losing MOX proposition. Instead we can deal
with both our nuclear waste and weapons problems by
Dr. Lyman agreed, Immobilization of this material
in glass would be a far safer approach.
Duke Energy has proposed to use weapons-grade plutonium
fuel from SRS in addition to the uranium oxide fuel for
which its reactors were designed. Dukes future
plans include the use of plutonium fuel at the McGuire
and Catawba nuclear stations near Charlotte.
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League's and Nuclear
Watch South's Late Filed Contention Regarding Need to
Supplement EIS for Proposed MOX Plutonium Processing
Facility is posted on the Internet:
Oct. 5, 2007 - In 2002 the US Department of Energy
discontinued its vitrification and immobilization plans
for surplus plutonium; on September 5, 2007, the agency
issued an Amended Record of Decision which said,
"[e]liminating the mission for the Plutonium
Vitrification process would result in the MFFF and
H-Canyon processing additional plutonium, therefore
requiring some modifications to both facilities."
Such modification of the plutonium fuel factory (MFFF)
was not requested or granted during the construction
license process nor is it covered by the proposed
operating license. This failure forms the basis for our