Jenkinsville Community Making the NRC Sweat!

March 27, 2009 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

If you believe all the hype, you might think that communities surrounding nuclear reactors think they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I’ve heard members of the nuclear elite tout the opposite of NIMBYism in nuclear communities, actually insinuating that these communities will beg for more reactors.

But in Jenkinsville, SC where VC Summer Unit One has been operational for 24 years and where South Carolina Electric & Gas wants to site two more nuclear reactors, public sentiment is far from supportive.  Over the last month, throughout the entire Nuclear Regulatory Commission scoping process for the draft Environmental Impact Statement, community members have been standing up and speaking out!  They’re furious that the NRC has been asking them to make public comment on a  process they don’t understand and haven’t been helped to understand.  These are community members that want to continue to live and grow and thrive in Jenkinsville, but have seen the very real devastation that the first reactor has brought to their community and don’t want more of the same.

By raising their voices and demanding more transparency, the community was able to push back the deadline for written comments by a month and have the NRC dancing to cover themselves.  In fact, the NRC is now hosting an additional meeting for the community that breaks from tradition.  Instead of the normal, oppressive and alienating meeting format that discourages real public comment, the NRC will be working within an “open house format” this Saturday, March 28th to take questions and comments on site.

Over the summer I lived in Jenkinsville, trying to build relationships and get a sense of community sentiment around the proposed expansion.  Just trying to get people to talk about the site and to be honest about their concerns was difficult.  Many folks felt intimidated by the utility or thought they were the only people concerned.

The community has now invited me back twice to facilitate meetings of community opposition.  It all started small, one group of four community members, largely elders in the community, but we cleared up some misconceptions and planned to meet again, trying to at least bring one more person each, but refusing to be discouraged by small numbers.  That following Tuesday we had thirteen community members in the room and plans to make sure community members get their written comments in as possible.

This Saturday, community members will be sitting at a table throughout the NRC “open house” helping each other articulate their concerns in the form of written comments.   Recognizing that they’ve already created unprecedented change within the way the NRC functions, community members are very committed to making sure that as many community members as possible add their voice to the chorus of opposition forming within the Jenkinsville community, so that this unreality of a community begging for more reactors is thoroughly dispelled!  Once a community expected to roll over and accept any expansion at VC Summer, Jenkinsville is raising Cain and making the NRC pay attention!

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Entry filed under: southern energy network.

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