BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE
PO Box 88 ~
Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone
(336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 14, 2009
Louis Zeller (336) 982-2691 office, (336)
Sandra Kurtz (423) 488-5668 cell
GROUPS TAKE AIM AT BELLEFONTE 1 AND 2
Today three citizens groups announced a new
lawsuit against TVAs Bellefonte nuclear site in Alabama.
The groups effort centers on the mothballed nuclear reactor
units 1 and 2. They based their opposition on 14 separate flaws
in the Nuclear Regulatory Commissions recent approval of a
construction permit. The lawsuit was filed by the Blue Ridge
Environmental Defense League, the Bellefonte Efficiency and
Sustainability Team and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
The May 8th legal challenge cited major safety problems
including: 1) the 40-year old plant systems are not up to modern
standards, 2) TVA has cannibalized key components of the plant
and 3) the NRC has had no oversight of the plant for nearly three
years. The lawsuit also details environmental problems including:
NRC failed to do an environmental assessment before it made its
decision and a full environmental impact statement should have
been done. A proper EIS would assess the impacts of four nuclear
reactors on aquatic resources and other environmental values.
The groups said NRCs approval process was illegal. The
petition stated: The two construction permits at issue here
were terminated and rendered legally void by the NRC on September
4, 2006. The NRC does not have legal authority to restore the
legal vitality of a construction permit once it has been rendered
Sandra Kurtz, a BEST member, said, NRCs got the cart
before the horse. Contrary to their own procedural requirements,
theyre handing out construction permits for reactors on a
40 year old gutted plant site before new reactor designs have
been approved and before environmental impacts have been
TVA requested reinstatement of construction permits for nuclear
reactors of an older design. Lou Zeller, the Leagues legal
representative, said, Because construction began so long
ago, the reactors would be nearly a century old by the time they
reached the end of their 60-year lifespan. Operation of such
technological dinosaurs cannot be justified. Zeller added
that the Babcock and Wilcox reactor design TVA plans to re-build
at Bellefonte has never been completed in the United States.
The lawsuit lists 14 arguments against reinstatement of the
1. The NRC was without legal authority to reinstate the
2. Reinstatement of the permits was legally defective due to the
NRCs failure to comply with the Atomic Energy Act.
3. The Environmental Assessment was illegally prepared after the
NRC decision was made.
4. NRC failed to do an Environmental Impact Statement.
5. Plant site geologic issues are not addressed.
6. Lack of good cause: TVA dismissed alternative energy sources
such as wind and solar on the grounds that they cost much more
than nuclear power.
7. The re-instatement was improper because TVA cannot meet the
NRCs quality assurance and quality control requirements.
8. Bellefonte Units 1 and 2 cannot satisfy NRC safety,
environmental and other requirements that have been imposed or
upgraded since 1974.
9. Bellefonte Units 1 and 2 do not meet operating life
requirements of 100 years.
10. No data was provided as rationale for a finding of no
significant impact nor have recent studies been conducted
to evaluate the impacts on aquatic resources
11. TVAs analysis does not adequately address potential
impacts on fish and mussels throughout the Tennessee River basin
caused by operating two or four nuclear reactors.
12. Potential impacts of increased water intake and increased
thermal discharge on fish and mussels in the vicinity of
Bellefonte and the Guntersville Reservoir are not addressed.
13. Potential impacts of increased thermal and chemical
discharges is not supported by evidence.
14. TVA used a biased rating system to justify the lack of data
in concluding that impacts of Bellefontes operation the
Tennessee River will be small or non-existent.
More info.: Petition for Intervention and Request for Hearing | BREDL's