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By: Constance Harness

AIKEN:    It was reported in The State newspaper on Wednesday, February 7, 2001, that the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, an antinuclear group, called on the federal government Tuesday to be open about plans for using plutonium to make nuclear reactor fuel.

35-50 tons of plutonium, a key ingredient in nuclear bombs during the cold war, are to be trucked to the Savannah River Site during the next decade. The complaint of the environmental group is that there is no long-term storage plan for the plutonium. Duke Energy fuels its nuclear reactors with a mixed oxide fuel made with plutonium converted by the SRS.

"The plutonium program ... has not been a model of openness," said Don Moniak, a coordinator with the Defense League. "There has been no commitment to safe storage. They're not treating this with the respect they should be."

Bill Taylor, spokesman for DOE, says there is openness about the process.