Long Beach : Fuel Rod Cargoes Delayed

Federal officials have agreed to delay shipments of highly radioactive nuclear fuel rods from Taiwan through the Port of Long Beach--or through two backup ports on the West Coast--at least until Aug. 1.

The delay is the result of an agreement between the U. S. Department of Energy and a Seattle-area coalition of environmental groups that filed suit last month to stop the shipments because no formal study of the environmental effects of the cargo had been conducted.

Federal officials agreed to delay the shipments until August if the coalition would abandon its efforts to get a temporary restraining order to stop them, said spokesmen for the Seattle coalition. A hearing had been set for last Monday in federal court in Tacoma, Wash.

But the agreement only delays a court showdown on the matter. The coalition will seek a permanent injunction against the shipments, a spokesman said. Both sides have until May 23 to file briefs on the permanent injunction. A hearing is expected by early July.

The Energy Department announced on Jan. 17 that it would bring 18 shipments of used fuel rods through Long Beach Harbor beginning in March, but heated protests by local and state officials delayed the shipments.

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