Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Burning Clay




nucs.jpgGroup urges conversation over proposed nuclear reactor in Jenkinsville



The drinking water running out of local taps comes from this lake. The
water is used for fishing and irrigating local gardens, too. Currently,
the lake also hosts a nuclear reactor owned and operated by South
Carolina Electric and Gas. The utility provider is pushing for two
additional reactors and local townsfolk aren’t sure they would welcome
these two new members to their community.





Summer in Jenkinsville, S.C. is characterized by arguably the most burning red clay you’ll ever see. Here the stillness is broken only by the breeze of passing eighteen-wheelers along Hwy 215 and the mischievous wind off the Monticello Reservoir –definitely the local favorite for fending off the heat. The reservoir plays other important roles, as well. The drinking water running out of local taps comes from this lake. The water is used for fishing and irrigating local gardens, too. Currently, the lake also hosts a nuclear reactor owned and operated by South Carolina Electric and Gas. The utility provider is pushing for two additional reactors and local townsfolk aren’t sure they would welcome these two new members to their community.

    Jenkinsville is a small town (population 783 at last count). There’s no stoplight and the most happening place in town is a little hometown sandwich shop that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, where diners are greeted by the smile of a curious little girl helping her grandmother out behind the counter for the summer. In the neighborhood, there’s always a crowd of folks gathered around a couple of picnic tables ready with smiles and an easy greetings, smiles that reveal the beauty of a community built on trust, love, generosity and good faith.

    While still looking for a place to live in town, I visited the park for the first time and met four kids splashing around in the lake celebrating their last day of school. I chatted with their mom while Kia, Hope, Travis and Tristian, ranging in age from seven to ten, swam and I couldn’t help but wonder what the water quality was like for them. The VC Summer reactor, looming over the heads of my four newest friends, has been operational since 1982. Over 26 years the people of Jenkinsville have grown used to the reactor; it’s just a part of everyday life, a spot to be avoided on the horizon. But now that SCE&G wants to build two new reactors, not everyone is so sure it’s a good idea.

    The Southern Energy Network and the Carolina Peace Resource Center, will be running listening projects in the community in order to create a conversation around the proposed expansion. Throughout the summer, youth from both Carolinas and possibly other reaches of the Southeast will be sitting down in living rooms, kitchens and on front porches to hear all concerns, feelings and opinions that the community is willing to share.
    Anyone interested in getting involved in the Jenkinsville listening project is encouraged to email Sara at: sara.m.tansey@gmail.com or call 843-305-0490 for more information.

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