In the 1980s, U.S. officials considered storing nuclear waste in Sandy Mush just outside of Asheville. Residents fought the proposal, and it was tabled — but not forgotten. On Jan. 7, a busload of area residents met before dawn in Asheville; with the aim, in part, of making sure Sandy Mush didn't crop up again as an option, they headed to Augusta, Ga., for a meeting of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. Xpress talked with two folks who took the trip that day — alternative-energy advocate Ned Doyle and photographer Jerry Nelson. [Scroll down to find the audio interview.]
A little background on the commission: Convened almost one year ago under the Obama administration and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the Blue Ribbon Commission is charged with reviewing almost all things nuclear: "conduct[ing] a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle and to provid[ing] recommendations for developing a safe, long-term solution to managing the Nation’s used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste," according to a commission press release that previewed its first meeting in March 2010.
"The Commission is made up of 15 members who have a range of expertise and experience in nuclear issues, including scientists, industry representatives, and respected former elected officials. The Commission will produce an interim report within 18 months and a final report within 24 months," the statement continues.
For more about the issue and about the Sandy Mush area, here are a few links:
About Sandy Mush: http://www.mountainx.com/news/2007/122607easements
Asheville City Council's decision about hazardous waste traveling the region: http://www.mountainx.com/news/2008/120308asheville_city_council
A nuclear-fuel leak in 2004: http://www.mountainx.com/news/2004/0707uranium.php
A statement by Ned Doyle about the trip: http://www.mountainx.com/blogwire/2011/a_blue-ribbon_nuclear_bus_ride
A July 2010 blog about the Sandy Mush-nuclear history http://ncmountainpolitics.blogspot.com/2010/07/will-sandy-mush-get-nuclear-waste.html
CREDITS: The Local Matters theme music is "jam band spy song" by E. Lee Photography by Jerry Nelson (for more of his photos, click here). Audio editing and technical assistance by Steve Shanafelt. Research, interview and blog-post text by Margaret Williams.