Press Release

DECEMBER 12, 2019

Louis Zeller (336) 982-2691

Activists Challenge Zombie Reactor

Today the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League announced the filing of its legal petition opposing renewed construction of the Bellefonte nuclear power plant. The 15-page brief, filed Wednesday, seeks to Intervene to stop the transfer of the construction permits for Units 1 and 2 from the Tennessee Valley Authority to a private firm, Nuclear Development LLC. BREDL's local chapter Bellefonte Efficiency and Sustainability Team, or BEST, founded in 2008 to defeat a previous permit, also joined the suit.

Louis Zeller, Executive Director of the League, said, "The Zombie Reactor seems to have a long half-life. We have opposed this power plant for over a decade. We'll continue for another if needs be." Zeller gave the Hollywood, Alabama plant its nickname because it has come back again and again without reason.

Garry Morgan, who lives less than five miles from Bellefonte, filed a declaration filed in support of the legal action. His reason: "failed and non-existing quality assurance practices and documentation." Much has been neglected and lost since construction was suspended by TVA in 1988. The original permits were issued by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1974.

Sandy Kurtz, who lives in Chattanooga also filed a declaration based on the risks Bellefonte would place on a million people living within 50 miles of the plant. She said, "During the last 45 years, conditions have changed including water demand, radioactive waste management and even the need for nuclear-generated electric power."

Unit 1 construction is now estimated to be 55% complete; Unit 2 construction is estimated to be 35% complete. The Babcock & Wilcox 205 design for the plant dates back to the 1970's. No others were built in the United States.

BREDL and BEST's petition to intervene is now before the Secretary of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Next, the NRC will have the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board establish a three-judge panel to hear the case. As parties to the case, Tennessee Valley Authority and Nuclear Development LLC will have the opportunity to respond. Hearings could be ordered early next year.


View Legal Petition