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


For Immediate Release
August 12, 2010

Louis Zeller: 336-982-2691

League Files Unprecedented Air Pollution Challenge at Plant Vogtle

This week in a bold move, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League filed a legal challenge to the proposed air pollution permit at Plant Vogtle. The August 10th filing was one of the first in the nation under the federal Clean Air Act challenging excessive radionuclide emissions from nuclear power. In a petition to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the League called for rejection of the permit issued by the State of Georgia because it failed to limit radioactive air pollution, failed to protect public health and failed to prevent environmental injustice.

The League’s petition detailed four major reasons for overturning the permit:
Issue 1: The EPD Permit lacks practical enforceability
The EPD Permit is vague, omits required testing, monitoring, record keeping and reporting, and does not fully meet the requirements of 40 C.F.R 70.6(a).
Issue 2: Permit Fails to Properly Limit Hazardous Air Pollutants
The permit issued by EPD does not comply with applicable requirements of the Clean Air Act; specifically, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).
Issue 3: Permit Fails to Protect Public Health
The Permit’s failure to properly limit radionuclides puts residents at risk of higher levels of morbidity and mortality from low level radiation.
Issue 4: Environmental Justice
A demographic analysis should be completed prior to issuance of the Permit

Louis Zeller, the League’s Science Director, said, “No regulatory agency in the United States is taking responsibility for limiting hazardous air poisons from nuclear power plants.” He continued, “This is a shell game. For too long, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the EPA have avoided their responsibility to protect nuclear power plant neighbors from radioactive air pollution.” The League has urged the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to conduct a comprehensive air pollution analyses before issuing any air pollution permit at Vogtle.

One basis for the petition is opposition to the permit voiced by the residents of Burke County who testified at a public hearing held in Waynesboro, Georgia in April. Local residents spoke about the increased levels of cancer since Vogtle began operation in the 1980’s. The League’s August 10th petition stated “Georgia EPD’s Permit and Preliminary Determination fail to address the impact of increased levels of hazardous and radioactive pollution in an area where people already suffer from high rates of cancer.” A study conducted by the University of South Carolina revealed that within a fifty mile radius of the plant black women had an elevated rate of cervical cancer and black men had a higher rate of esophageal cancer.

Southern Company seeks to add two nuclear reactors and four new cooling towers, which would emit more radioactive air pollutants.


View BREDL Petition