Duke Shareholders MOX Resolution

From the proxy ballot for Duke Energy's Annual Shareholders Meeting, Charlotte, NC, April 20, 2000




Use of Mixed Oxide Fuel in Nuclear Reactors


Refuse Plutonium Fuel for Duke Reactors


Whereas: Duke Energy is under contract with the Department of Energy (DOE) to use plutonium fuel (MOX) in the McGuire and Catawba nuclear reactors.


Whereas: Duke shareholders are concerned about the impact of plutonium fuel on the safe, efficient and economic operation of the company for the following reasons:


  1. Economic dividends from this program are small, speculative, far in the future and not worth the risks to reactor safety or company reputation.


  1. Growing public and legislative opposition creates a bad public relations image for our company during a time of utility deregulation and growing competition.


  1. Weapons grade plutonium has never been used in commercial nuclear reactors posing unanticipated risks.  European experience with reactor grade plutonium fuel has produced inadequate information of unknown relevance to the U.S. weapons grade plutonium fuel program.


  1. Uranium fuel is plentiful and inexpensive, with predictable impacts on reactor operations.  Plutonium fuel introduces differences in reactor physics which increase accident risks and increases cancer deaths from serious accidents by as much as 25%.


  1. Duke Energy participation in this plutonium fuel program would make the company dependent on the Department of Energy and the French government owned firm Cogema.  The difficulties and red tape involved in doing business with these two government make the business dynamics of this venture risky.


  1. The plutonium fuel program depends on the Russian government doing a parallel program.  Duke Energy should not involve itself in a program that depends on political events in Russia.


  1. Use of plutonium fuel sends the message that plutonium is acceptable for use in other countries, thus increasing the risk of nuclear weapons material proliferation.


  1. Plutonium fuel use would require amending the operating licenses of the nuclear reactors in a process that could be expensive, time consuming and possibly unsuccessful.


  1. The Department of Energy is also planning to immobilize some of the plutonium by mixing it with nuclear waste and encasing it in glass or ceramics.  The immobilization option is faster, safer, cheaper and does not promote nuclear materials proliferation.  Duke shareholders should promote this better option for plutonium disposal.  There is no need for Duke Energy to use the unproven weapons plutonium fuel.


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the shareholders of Duke Energy require the Board of Directors to establish a firm policy against the use of plutonium (MOX) fuel.


We urge all shareholders to please vote FOR this resolution.




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