Advanced Search



Nuclear -   32
Nuclear -   31
Nuclear -   30
Nuclear -   29
Nuclear -   28
Nuclear -   27
Nuclear -   26
Nuclear -   25
Nuclear -   24
Nuclear -   23
Nuclear -   22
Nuclear -   21
Nuclear -   20
Nuclear -   19
Nuclear -   18
Nuclear -   17
Nuclear -   16
Nuclear -   15
Nuclear -   14
Nuclear -   13
Nuclear -   12
Nuclear -   11
Nuclear -   10
Nuclear -     9
Nuclear -     8
Nuclear -     7
Nuclear -     6
Nuclear -     5
Nuclear -     4
Nuclear -     3
Nuclear -     2
Nuclear -     1 - Duke Energy Employee Advocate
Nuclear - Page Three

"He drew a circle that shut me out-heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But Love
and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in!" - Edwin Markham

Meeting: Russia’s Nuclear Troubles

Duke Energy Employee Advocate - April 30, 2001

Holley Inns Banquet Room
235 Richland Avenue, West
Downtown Aiken, SC
Monday, May 7th, 2001 at 7 p.m.
sponsor: Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, (
Contact: Don Moniak 803-644-6953,

Featuring Leaders from Russian Citizen Groups:

Ekaterine Akhmadeeva, Chelyabinsk Youth Ecological-Juridical Public Movement

Vitaly Khizhyak: Krasnoyarsk Citizen Center for Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Konstantin Kozlov: Institute for International Environmental Safety

Natalia Mironova: Movement for Nuclear Safety

Alexandr Nikitin: Environmental Human Rights Center and Bellona Foundation

Andrei Talevline: Pravosoznaniye

Duke Energy and Plutonium Fuel

Duke Energy Employee Advocate - April 29, 2001

The Charlotte Observer has announced a public hearing regarding the use of plutonium fuel in nuclear plants. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has set the hearing to be held on:

  • May 8 at 7 P. M.

  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center

  • 600 E. Fourth St.

  • Charlotte, North Carolina

If you have questions or comments, please attend this meeting. If you are silent about your concerns about the use of MOX fuel in nuclear reactors, Duke Energy will gladly make all the decisions for you! Do not abdicate more of your rights to Duke Energy Corporation.

Duke Energy will make their decisions after carefully weighing what matters most to them: just how much money is in it for them!

Duke Energy is the only Corporation in the United States planning to use the controversial MOX fuel in their nuclear reactors.

" ‘Plutonium is toxic, and processing it is expensive and dangerous,’ said Robin Mills, a Duke shareholder whose 2000 proposal to end Duke's participation in the program was voted down by the company's shareholders.”

Our only position in the matter is that one should never accept any Duke Energy proposal just because they say that it will be good for you. Many experts have stated that MOX fuel will be dangerous to nuclear plant workers and the public.

Several Duke Energy shareholders spoke against the use of MOX fuel at last years annual meeting. A physician at the meeting testified that there is more risk to humans when MOX fuel is used. He said that around plants that use plutonium, radioactivity, cancer, and mutations, will increase. The quality of life around such plants will decrease.

Russia has never said that they will stop producing plutonium, according to a Nuclear Control Institute spokesperson at the meeting. Russia can just increase plutonium production to feed reactors in the U. S. A. So much for swords into plowshares!

Mr. Peter Wylie, great-grandson of a Duke Energy cofounder, addressed the shareholders, stating that mixed oxide nuclear fuel is dangerous, and that in Japan people are dying because of MOX exposure.

Plutonium On The Internet


What is MOX?

Duke's Nukes


Plutonium in the Piedmont

Charlotte, N.C., Nuclear Plants' (Catawba, McGuire) Design Causes Concern

Nuclear Watchdogs Eye Duke's Salvage Operation

San Francisco Chronicle - April 8, 2001

Robin Mills, a Washington, D.C., handyman, and Dick Sears, a Winston- Salem, N.C., professor, have little in common besides their mutual distrust of the company whose stock both own, Duke Energy Corp., and they say Californians should know why they're down on their investment.

While Duke may serve its 396,000 shareholders well and have Wall Street's admiration, it's also a company, Mills and Sears say, that will openly defy the government on vital but costly air-pollution measures and move ahead with a risky nuclear program no other energy producer would touch.

Duke, the third-largest U.S. utility, acquired three Pacific Gas and Electric Co. plants in 1998 and today accounts for about 5 percent of California's power. It plans to expand in the Golden State.

In recent shareholder resolutions, Mills and Sears accused Duke of polluting the air by burning coal, and of jeopardizing the safety of millions in the Southeast by proceeding despite fierce opposition with a plan to convert plutonium warheads to nuclear fuel.

Sears' antipollution resolution, introduced in November, came a month before the Environmental Protection Agency charged the company and others with numerous violations of the federal Clean Air Act. The pollution that Duke allegedly caused, the government said, was responsible for increased sickness and mortality from lung disorders among residents of the Southeastern United States.

"I went to the emergency room twice last summer. I didn't know what was happening to me," said Nina Layton, 53, of Charlotte, N.C., where Duke is headquartered. "My asthma doctor said the coal-fired plants were one of the main culprits."

Duke denied the federal charges, saying it will defend itself vigorously.

Energy-industry watchdogs and concerned shareholders say that Duke warrants close scrutiny from California consumers, regulators and elected officials seeking solutions to the state's energy problems without eroding the high standards that have made it the nation's environmental pacesetter.

Today, California may be an environmentally by-the-book state where new plants run by coal and nuclear sources -- which account for 98 percent of the fuel Duke uses nationwide, about equally divided -- are economically impractical or close to unthinkable, legally and politically. But no one can say how its energy needs will shape public opinion and government policy in the future.

"If I were a resident of California, I wouldn't want to give a large economic interest in the state's energy market to them (Duke) because we know their policy: To fight pollution-control efforts," said David Hawkins, director of the air and energy program of the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C.

According to Claudia Chandler, spokeswoman for the California Energy Commission, state law says no nuclear plants may be built until a safe way to dispose of nuclear waste is found.

Duke says California's environmental laws and other regulatory hurdles are why more than 25 percent of its generation capacity in the state frequently has been unavailable. Chief Executive Officer Richard Priory blames special- interest groups in California. He told the Winston-Salem Journal, hometown paper of one of North Carolina's polluted cities, "(I)n the Carolinas, we're committed to getting it right."

But what's "right" for the Carolinas is far from clear.

"It makes me cough a whole lot more, and coughing is what upsets my lungs," said Virginia Richardson of Winston-Salem, who lives near Duke's coal-fired Belews Creek plant, one of the company's dirtiest.

Richardson, 70, has a chronic lung condition that gets worse, she said, when the plant is spewing emissions.

"I notice smells in the area. Sometimes the air looks foggy, smoky or whatever. I come in the house," Richardson said. "It's the same stuff over and over, shortness of breath, I get tired, I get bad colds in the wintertime."

Clay Ballantine, a physician at a large hospital in Asheville that serves 22 counties in western North Carolina, said that during the summer of 1999, one of the worst in local memory for pollution, he treated at least a half- dozen patients for severe respiratory problems. They later sold their second homes in the Blue Ridge Mountains and returned to their home states. A dozen other physicians on the staff treated similar numbers, he said.

"The tourists come here thinking they'll get clean mountain air, and they end up with flareups of normally stable breathing problems they had before -- with severe asthma and emphysema," Ballantine said.

"We're seeing more lung disease than when I came here four years ago," Ballantine added. "My opinion is the emissions from the coal-fired power plants are the main correctable variable."

A study published in October tabulated the death and disease caused by air pollution from all sources, focusing in part on pollution from coal-fired plants such as Duke's.

The study was conducted by a private consultant, Abt Associations of Cambridge, Mass., for Clear the Air, a joint project of the Clean Air Task Force, the National Environmental Trust and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. Among its findings:

-- California, which has relatively few coal, oil and diesel plants, ranked 46th in per capita deaths from power-plant pollution. North and South Carolina, where Duke's eight coal-fired plants are situated, ranked 6th and 7th, respectively.

-- An estimated 1,800 North Carolinians die each year from power-plant pollution, compared with an estimated 259 in California, which has a population 4.2 times larger.

-- Two North Carolina cities -- Charlotte and Greensboro -- rank among the nation's worst in annual incidence of deaths, asthma attacks and hospitalizations attributable to power-plant pollution.

A third city, Asheville, has the nation's sixth-highest rate of deaths related to power plant pollution, the study found. Asheville Mayor Leni Sitnick said her tourism-dependent city faces economic doom unless the pollution problem is solved.

Sears' antipollution measure, proposed Nov. 10, never received a public hearing. Duke told him Feb. 19 that, with the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission, it would refuse to put it before the annual shareholders' meeting in Charlotte on April 26.

Mills' antinuclear resolution, opposed by Duke in repeated legal objections, expired during a two-year period and eventually was removed from the ballot, despite the support of thousands of shareholders, among them Peter Gill Wylie, great-grandson of one of the company's founders.

In an interview, Wylie said that when Mills' antiplutonium measure failed a second time last year, he began to sell his large holdings of stock in the company.

"It's very scary to me," Wylie said, " if Duke makes one wrong step, not only would potentially millions of people be hurt, but the stock would be worthless."

The dissident shareholders say there's a lesson for California in their experiences.

"You have to be very careful with them. They're willing to use their lawyers wherever and whenever they need to," Mills said.

A 22,000-employee company with a global reach (it has done work in more than 50 countries), Duke is accustomed to having a free hand in North Carolina, political observers in the South say, because it has been a big employer (10, 128 people are on its payroll in the state) and liberal-spending political powerhouse there for decades.

Bob Hull, research director for Democracy South, a Chapel Hill, N.C., watchdog group, said North Carolina's political culture has encouraged big businesses like Duke to assert themselves in ways not seen elsewhere.

"Unlike other states that have found government a hindrance," Hull said, "North Carolina has had a hegemony of industrial, financial and agricultural interests that have used government as an engine. Duke has been a part of that for decades."

As an example, critics point to Duke's pressure on then-Gov. Jim Hunt in October to lobby state officials to set a lower overall air-pollution standard than more than 11,000 residents said they wanted in hearings. Higher standards result in fewer pollution-related deaths, data show.

In exchange for a weaker and less costly standard, Duke -- which had teamed up with the state's other large utility, Carolina Power & Light -- agreed to show restraint. It said it would not sue the state if the tougher standard was set aside. It got its way.

Duke's Roche, backed by the chairman of the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission, David Moreau, denied allegations that the company pressured Hunt improperly.

But environmental commissioner Bob Epting, a Chapel Hill, N.C., lawyer who voted against the lower standard, told local reporters that Hunt, Duke and CP&L had made a backdoor and backroom deal. Five months later, he's still angry.

"It abused the dignity of the commission and spat in the face of the citizens," Epting told The Chronicle. "It reflects the arrogance of unfettered power, whether in the governor's office or the Duke presidential suite.

"To the extent you permit that in California, Duke will do the same thing there," he added. "The people of California ought to be on the lookout.

"There's never been anybody at Duke," Epting asserted, "who stood up and said, 'We're going to make the environment as important as our bottom line.' I don't know there ever will be."

Duke has one of the two largest corporate political action committees in North Carolina; CP&L has the other. Together, they donated more than $1.5 million to candidates and measures in North Carolina between 1989 and 1998, and more than $100,000 to Hunt since 1990, including donations from executives and lobbyists, according to Democracy South.

In California, Duke donated $14,000 on Aug. 3 to Gov. Gray Davis, state Sen. Debra Bowen, D-Marina del Rey, chair of the Senate Energy Committee, and to the Senate Democratic Leadership Fund.

Duke also pumped money into a ballot measure in Morro Bay (San Luis Obispo County), where it plans a controversial plant modernization opposed by a group of local residents. The company spent nearly $13,000 in support of an initiative that called for approval of the project. It spent an additional $4, 300 backing state Sen. Jack O'Connell, D-Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo, who endorsed it. O'Connell is a member of the state Senate Committee on Environmental Quality. The measure passed.

"Morro Bay is a beautiful place to live," said resident Jack McCurdy, a founder of the anti-Duke Coastal Alliance, "but it's spoiled, having to live with Duke and the people they bought off."

O'Connell said: "Any attempt to link any contribution to my position on the ballot measure is absurd and laughable. The project is sound. We're in an energy crisis. A clear majority in the community understands that."

But McCurdy's group claims the plant, fueled by natural gas, will put an additional 76 tons of particulate matter into the air, an amount equivalent to more than 300 percent of all emissions produced each year by diesel buses in the Bay Area. Particulates are particles small enough to enter and lodge in the lungs.

McCurdy said health hazards to children, who will be attending school close to the new facility, will increase, water quality will deteriorate and marine life will die. The bay is one of three California estuaries protected by the Clean Water Act's National Estuary Program.

The Coastal Alliance calls the plant there now "a moral and ethical abomination" and contends Duke wants to make a bad situation significantly worse.

"They have sought and pretty much succeeded in making Morro Bay a company town," said McCurdy, a retired Los Angeles Times reporter.

With the assistance of Santa Barbara's Environmental Defense Center, a public-interest legal group, the Coastal Alliance plans to fight Duke's Morro Bay expansion project before the California Energy Commission as it proceeds through the review process this year.

Duke says the Morro Bay project will meet all the requirements of state and federal law and use the best available technology to lower smog levels.

Epting, the environmental commissioner, is a pilot who flies a small plane over the central part of North Carolina.

"You can see an orangish-yellow plume that connects these plants. It's a putrid halo that sits over the top of Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte. That's what these companies give us," he said.

But state regulators have not found much to complain about, at least with regard to Duke. Environmentalists say that's because they haven't looked hard enough.

"Nobody here is doing anything about this," said Janet Zeller of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League in Glendale Springs, N.C.

North Carolina air-quality official Mike Aldrich contended that wasn't the case.

"Sometimes they'll make you make them do it right," Aldrich said of Duke, "but they will do it right."

The federal government's experience has been different.

In December, the Justice Department took Duke to court on behalf of the EPA, which had failed to persuade the company to bring its eight coal-fired plants in the Carolinas into compliance with the Clean Air Act.

The government charged Duke with more than 50 violations punishable by fines upward of $25,000 a day, saying the company had gone at least a decade without installing costly equipment to control power-plant emissions containing sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxides and particulates.

While the suit's ultimate fate may be uncertain under the Bush administration, environmental groups and power company watchdogs in the Southeast see it as confirmation of what they have been saying for years.

Under a controversial federal program, Duke is the only energy company with a lucrative government contract (it comes with a $130 million credit) to dispose of plutonium, a byproduct of disarmament. Its partners in the contract are French energy company Cogema and a U.S. plutonium-facility contractor, Stone & Webster.

The radioactive waste would be salvaged near Georgia's second-largest city, Augusta, at a secured 300-square-mile Energy Department site on the Savannah River in Aiken, S.C., from decommissioned plutonium warheads shipped from Amarillo, Texas.

It would be mixed with uranium to form MOX, mixed oxide fuel, then used at Duke facilities close to Charlotte -- one of which, the McGuire Nuclear Station on Lake Norman, sits amid planned residential communities partly developed by a Duke-owned real estate company.

Construction, under a contract with the federal Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Agency, is scheduled to begin in 2003; operations are expected to continue through 2022, when the lethal leftovers of the nuclear arms race have been consumed.

Roche said the company has a good record on its nuclear operations and was invited to run the MOX program because the government has confidence in it.

But critics call the project economically and environmentally risky, as well as a magnet for terrorists, because recycled plutonium can be converted back to weapons-grade materiel with relative ease.

"It's going to be a fiasco," said Mills, the Duke shareholder, a onetime electrician on a nuclear submarine who inherited stock and uses it as a paper pulpit for his clean-energy views. "The question in California is: Will they expand by building nuclear?"

Paul Gunter, director of the Reactor Watchdog Project for the Nuclear Information and Referral Service in Washington, D.C., predicted that as California continues to map out long-term plans to address its energy needs, nuclear-powered generation inevitably will be a focal point.

Notwithstanding barriers to development now in place, he said, plutonium fuel and the substantial hazards that accompany nuclear energy may become major concerns in the state.

Zeller of the Blue Ridge group said it's unlikely the Savannah River project, if completed, can be confined to the two North Carolina plants Duke says it now has in mind for MOX fuel.

"It's absurd for anyone to believe this plutonium factory at Savannah River is for just those reactors," she said. "These are the first phase. Others will be slated for weapons-grade plutonium. Where? Nobody knows. Every state with a nuclear power plant better be interested."

Duke Exerts Energy in Business and Politics
-- About the company: Duke Energy is a multinational energy company composed of 14 operating units. It entered California July 1, 1998, with Duke Energy North America's purchase of 2,645 megawatts of production from PG&E. Duke generates 3,450 megawatts in Oakland, Moss Landing (Monterey County), Morro Bay (San Luis Obispo County) and Chula Vista (San Diego County), accounting for about 5 percent of the state's electricity. It plans to add 1, 560 megawatts at these plants, which run primarily on natural gas. The company employs about 22,000 people in more than 50 countries, including more than 1, 000 in California.

-- Financial performance: It has $58 billion in assets. Revenue in 2000 was more than $49 billion, up 127 percent from 1999; earnings per share were a record $4.20, up 17 percent. It was the second-highest-ranking company for return on equity on the Dow Jones utility average in 2000. The stock is held by the top seven utilities mutual funds and given second-highest overall weighting in those funds, according to Morningstar of Chicago. By the end of 2000, shares were worth 70 percent more than when the year began.

-- Political spending: DukePAC, the company's political action committee, more than tripled its donations to U.S. House and Senate candidates in the1999- 2000 election cycle, with House Republican candidates receiving $39,000 from Duke in 1997-98, more than twice as much as Democrats. Senate Republican hopefuls, including Matt Fong of California, got $2,500, compared with $1,750 donated to Democrats. During the next election, however, Duke's donations grew enormously. House Republicans received $93,875 and House Democrats $55,000; Senate Republicans received $33,000, Democrats $9,500. In California, Duke donated comparatively small amounts last summer to Gov. Gray Davis, state Senate Energy Committee Chairwoman Debra Bowen, D-Marina del Rey (Los Angeles County), and the Senate Democratic Leadership Fund. The company spent $126,394 on lobbying in Sacramento in 1999-2000.

-- CEO compensation: CEO Richard Priory's 1999 pay package totaled more than $2 million; a salary increase, $1.9 million bonus and other compensation pushed it to $3.2 million in 2000. Both years exclude value of stock holdings, including options, which vary in value depending on market conditions. Priory exercised stock options and sold shares Nov. 1-2 that netted him more than $1 million.

Previous Morro Bay article:

Duke Energy Increases Political Donations

German Atomic Waste Shipment Spawns Protests

Public Citizen - Press Release - March 27, 2001

U.S. Groups Say Similar Protests Could Happen Here

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States could see protests similar to those now occurring in Germany if the federal government approves a plan to transport high-level nuclear waste across the country to a Nevada storage site, two U.S. public interest groups said today.

Thousands of protesters are demonstrating throughout Germany as the first high-level radioactive waste is transported through that country since 1998. Approximately 15,000 people demonstrated peacefully in Leuneberg, Germany, on Saturday, while others are protesting at the French-German border and all along the 300-mile transport route. Tens of thousands of police have been mobilized to protect the lethally radioactive shipment.

"The protests in Germany are so large and the people so determined because they know these transports are not necessary," said Michael Mariotte, executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) who has been present for previous transports in Germany. "They are being done simply for the convenience of the nuclear power industry."

Lisa Gue, policy analyst with Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program, agreed. "The nuclear industry should not be permitted to evade liability for its most dangerous byproduct," she said. "Around the world, concerned citizens are mobilizing to protest this unacceptable trade-off and the serious risks that transporting high-level nuclear waste imposes on their health and safety. I predict Americans will do the same."

Mariotte and Gue drew parallels between the well-organized protests in Germany and mounting citizen opposition to proposed nuclear transport schemes in the United States. The U.S. Department of Energy is preparing to recommend Yucca Mountain, in Nevada, as a permanent repository for high-level radioactive waste. If this proposal is approved, 77,000 tons of nuclear waste from the nation's commercial reactors and weapon's sites would be transported through 43 states en route to Nevada starting in 2010.

Another proposal by a consortium of nuclear utilities known as Private Fuel Storage would involve transporting 44,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste to an interim storage facility on the Skull Valley Goshute Reservation in Utah. Under this scheme, cross-country shipments could begin as early as 2003.

Opponents of the Yucca Mountain repository and Private Fuel Storage proposals have concerns about both the suitability of the sites and the safety of transporting high-level radioactive waste. Containers that would be used to ship the waste have not been subjected to full-scale physical testing, and an accident involving a release of radiation could have catastrophic consequences.

"Transporting high-level nuclear waste is inherently dangerous because it increases the risk of radioactive release and disperses this risk along transportation routes where emergency responders may lack the capacity to respond effectively to a radiological emergency," Gue said.

Even without an accident, high-level nuclear waste shipping containers routinely emit low doses of radiation, which could elevate the risk of cancer among vulnerable aspects of the population. Also, property values would decline along nuclear transportation routes.

"High-level waste should never be transported to inappropriate sites, and neither Yucca Mountain nor Skull Valley are scientifically or publicly acceptable," Mariotte said. "We can expect similar protests-over much longer transport routes-if high-level atomic waste is attempted to be moved to such sites."

The German shipment left a reprocessing center in Valognes, France early Monday morning. It is expected to arrive at a relay center in Dannenburg in northern Germany on Tuesday. There, the 100-ton waste casks will be transferred from train cars to large trucks. On Wednesday, the trucks are to drive the final nine miles to an "interim" storage facility at Gorleben. Thousands of protestors are expected to block the trucks' departure from Dannenburg.

The protests this year are particularly significant, since the ruling Social Democrat/Green Party coalition has endorsed the transports as part of an agreement to close the country's nuclear power plants within the next 30 years. That endorsement, however, does not seem to resonate with the grassroots activists, farmers, and people from all walks of life who have consistently opposed the transports and radioactive waste storage at Gorleben.

Many Germans remain strongly opposed to transporting high-level nuclear waste, citing risks to the environment and human health and safety. In 1997, similar demonstrations at the same location brought out more than 20,000 protestors and more than 30,000 police. Again in 1998, well-organized demonstrations disrupted a nuclear shipment to the Ahaus storage site in northern Germany.

Updates on the protests at Gorleben can be found at and (While most of the information will be in German, some will be in English.) First person accounts of the 1997 and 1998 German transports, with photos, can be found in the International News section of NIRS' Web site,

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.

Biased Process Promotes Exposure to Nuclear Waste

Public Citizen - Press Release - March 26, 2001

Radioactive Materials Could be Released Into Consumer Goods, Building Supplies

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The process used by a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee to determine how to dispose of radioactive waste is skewed toward reaching one recommendation: use the waste to make common household goods and building materials, according to a "Statement of Concern about Balance and Perspective" issued today by 119 public interest groups and individuals.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee, enlisted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to provide recommendations for the dispersal of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants, is biased and designed to lend legitimacy to releasing the waste into regular commerce, the groups said. The NAS committee holds its second meeting today through Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The groups and individuals include singer Bonnie Raitt, the Sierra Club and the Committee for Nuclear Responsibility.

The groups are concerned that radioactively contaminated materials could be widely distributed throughout the environment and end up in a wide array of consumer goods. Should such releases be allowed to continue and increase, the radioactive legacy of America's nuclear power and weapons industry could end up in everything from cooking utensils and bicycles to homebuilding materials such as concrete, wood, metal and glass, the groups say. They are also concerned that radioactive soil could be used in landscaping or school playgrounds. In short, our overall environment could see a dramatic increase in radioactive contamination, according to David Ritter, a policy analyst for Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program. A copy of the statement is located at

Radioactive materials have been released from Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons and commercial sites for some time, but no coherent policy or consistent standards govern such releases. Last year, as a result of pressure from citizen groups, unions and the steel industry, then-Energy Secretary Bill Richardson placed a moratorium on the release of radioactive metals from DOE sites. However, the moratorium didn't apply to commercial sites. Also, contaminated materials that aren't metals still may be released from DOE sites, providing that the DOE believes that releases will result in "authorized doses" of radiation to the population. The NRC now is proceeding to set a standard for the amount of radiation that the public can be exposed to from products containing recycled materials from government and commercial plants.

The NAS committee (called the Committee on Alternatives for Controlling the Release of Solid Materials From Nuclear Regulatory Commission Licensed Facilities) was formed in September and has 18 months to issue recommendations about how the NRC should deal with radioactively contaminated waste. The committee has invited "stakeholders" to present their views on the release, reuse or recycling of the materials from NRC-licensed facilities. The statement of concern issued today protests the composition of the speakers and the agenda for the meeting.

The groups' statement reminds the committee that "the public's right to protection from unnecessary radiation exposure should be the pre-eminent concern" and that the signatories are "disappointed that the stakeholder presentations are so heavily skewed towards the nuclear industry." Not a single public interest organization will have the chance to address the whole committee.

"This is blatantly unfair and biased," said Diane D'Arrigo, project director at Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS). "It discredits the supposedly scientific process that should be independent of powerful business interests."

The first day of presentations, which will be made to the full committee, has been allotted solely to nuclear industry representatives. On the second day, the committee will split into two sections and hold simultaneous sessions. Only three of the 18 scheduled speakers will represent the general public, and just one organization - representing a nuclear industry - has been given two time slots for presentations.

The public interest sector wanted better representation at the meeting. According to D'Arrigo, "numerous others requested the opportunity to present, but were refused, some with unique and comprehensive knowledge of the very issues with which this committee must contend."

The nuclear industry stands to reap great benefits from selling radioactive waste to be recycled into consumer goods. Selling, dumping or donating radioactive materials under the green-washed guise of "recycling" would be much more cost-effective for the companies that own and operate nuclear power plants than responsibly isolating and maintaining the waste for the many years they will be hazardous.

"What's good for the bottom line of the nuclear companies is bad news for the public," Ritter said. "The entire country could become a laboratory where people would be the guinea pigs for an experiment to discover the long-term health effects of repeated and unavoidable exposures to radiation."

The protest letter urges that "this bias be corrected in all future sessions and that the expertise of this committee focus seriously on practical mechanisms to isolate radioactively contaminated materials from the public and the environment."

The impact of any decision by the committee, which will influence the NRC's rulemaking process, could set a precedent that would affect the release of similarly contaminated materials from nuclear weapons and other fuel chain sites within the Departments of Defense and Energy.

"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is hoping that the National Academy of Sciences will give them much-needed credibility for letting nuclear power wastes into our daily lives," D'Arrigo said. "We are calling on the NAS Committee to really listen to critics and public sentiment and to reject this dangerous plan."

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

Nuclear - Page Two