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


May 16, 2008

Louis Zeller 336-977-0852
Elena Day 434-296-2494


Today the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and its chapter the People’s Alliance for Clean Energy announced they have filed a legal challenge to halt construction of a third nuclear reactor at the North Anna plant in Louisa County, Virginia. The May 9th challenge centered on issues of seismicity, water quality and water supply, radioactive waste and public health.

The petition states that existing reactors at North Anna use more water than all of the state’s agricultural, commercial, manufacturing, mining and public water users combined. Moreover, four and a half billion gallons of water would be evaporated annually cooling Unit 3 alone. Elena Day of PACE said, “New nuclear reactors at North Anna would be irresponsible because the water situation is critical. The growing population in this area and the ongoing drought will only worsen the situation.”

The legal challenge reflects the petitioners’ belief that the Dominion-Virginia Power early site permit was granted without an adequate assessment of environmental impacts. The permit record contains a strong, even fierce minority opinion from the chairman of the three-judge Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel which granted the early site permit. Judge Alex Karlin opposed the permit because the NRC staff and Dominion had not complied with important provisions of national environmental law.

Karlin wrote, “[T]he NRC staff failed to consider and search for (or demand that Dominion search for) the ‘best alternative sites that could reasonably be found,’ and instead short-circuited the alternatives analysis by fixating on a very small ‘slate of sites’ proffered by Dominion.” The result, he said, was therefore “predetermined” and the selection of the North Anna site was, “inconsistent with both the letter and spirit of the National Environmental Policy Act.”

Louis Zeller, the League’s legal representative, said that Dominion covered up evidence of a geologic fault in the 1970’s and that they now want a variance because they cannot meet safety standards. Zeller said, “Fool us once, shame on you; fool us twice, shame on us.” The League plans to press the seismic dangers and other safety and environmental problems created by the proposed third reactor.

The petition raises eight major issues: Dominion lacks a realistic radioactive waste plan, Unit 3 would be located on top of a geological fault, the plant’s cooling system will violate water quality standards, the plant will not adequately limit radioactive emissions to the atmosphere, uranium is an unreliable fuel source, the license would violate the Constitutional protections of due process and equal protection, irradiated fuel would remain on site, and the plant would be a target for terrorist attacks.

In addition to the two intervening organizations, petitioners included individual residents within 50 miles of the North Anna nuclear station. Contributing substantively to the legal analysis and case framework were two national organizations: Beyond Nuclear and Nuclear Information and Resource Service.

The full petition is available on our website at _COL_petition_FINAL.pdf