This week’s Friday Video comes via a suggestion from friend, folklorist, and writer Rachel Reynolds Luster who passed the video our way this morning. For several months now we’ve been researching the history of Arkansas Nuclear One and following discussions regarding nuclear sites throughout the country. To see other posts about this research go here.
This video film is part of a documentary film project entitled Acceptable Limits about the believed health and environmental effects of a 54 year old nuclear fuel processing plant in east Tennessee. This video comes via Kickstarter where creators of the film are spreading the word and inviting those with an interest in the project to help fund the production of the film. If you are unfamiliar with Kickstarter and their grassroots funding methods, go here to learn more.
For those who are supporters of the nuclear industry and leery of activists who question the industry’s safety, you might feel there’s some bias in this film’s research. Here at the BDJ we are particularly interested in research projects that explore some of the lessor told stories of the nuclear industry and the complexities surrounding their presence in communities. This film appears to posses the potential to do just that. We welcome debate on these subjects and counter discussions.
From the Kickstarter site here’s a bit of backstory about the film:
Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS) has been the main employer in the rural valley town of Erwin, Tennessee for decades. On the edge of the Appalachian Trail, the facility sits on the Nolichucky River. Initially, NFS brought much needed jobs to the area, hiring those with little education at pay rates far exceeding any of the factory jobs in the area. For 54 years the neighborhood factory has accepted weapons grade Plutonium and Uranium from around the world to create fissionable nuclear fuel for our Navy’s fleet of submarines and aircraft carriers.
When tests of the water in the area showed rampant contamination, Michael Abbott Jr., an East Tennessee native, and his best friend Cosmo Pfeil decided to investigate how this pollution could be allowed to happen. They ended up embarking on an exploration of what the word “community” means to citizens of an Appalachian town dealing with the devastating effects of 54 years of nuclear contamination. Through interviews with former employees (some who were there as long as 30 years) now dealing with serious health issues, neighbors of the facility who watch white smoke billow from the stacks in the early hours of the morning and blow towards their homes, it became clear that there was a problem and that people in this town were sick and dying.
A university study, requested by environmentalists, is being conducted to determine uranium levels in the water and soil in the area. An interim report from the ongoing study states that NFS-derived uranium is present in the water and soil samples taken in Erwin and that the “quantities are likely to be very considerable”. The study also states that “The results also demonstrate the entry of groundwater discharges of NFS-derived enriched U into the surface waters, and point to serious questions about the scope/extent of groundwater contamination near the NFS facility.” To keep the full synoposis, visit their Kickstarter page here.
Here’s the video. If you are intersested in learning more about this film or helping to fund their research (you can denote as little as one dollar to the cause) be sure and visit their Kickstarter page to learn more.
If you have a suggestion for a Friday video please let us know. We love hearing from readers.