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May 19, 2023

Western North Carolina Chapter, Physicians for Social Responsibility

Minutes, May 19, 2023

I.) Attendees: Scott Baker, Bert Crain, Phil Bisesi, Dot Sulock, Mary Olson, Scott Mahan, Robert Howarth, Leslie Poplawski, Brita Clark, Terry Clark 

II.) Welcome- Scott Baker, Chairman, recommends book by Greta Thunberg and shared quote from book: “It has been estimated that we humans who are alive today, make up 7 % of all Homo Sapiens that have ever lived...Thanks to our ability to observe, study, remember, evolve, adapt, learn, change and tell stories, we have gained enough information and knowledge to begin safeguarding our living conditions and our well-being. This has given us unprecedented possibility to create a fair and affluent world. But that achievement perhaps unique in the entire cosmos – is slipping through our fingers. Up until now, we have been failing. We have allowed greed, enormous collective and selfishness, the opportunity for a very small number of people to make unimaginable amounts of money to stand in the way of our common well-being. / But now you and I have been given the historic responsibility to set things right…” The Climate Book, by Greta Thunberg, 2023, age 20


Agenda, approved

Minutes of April 21, 2023 approved as written, Address of chapter clarified: Western North Carolina Chapter, Physicians for Social Responsibility, PO. Box 17613, Asheville, NC 28816

Treasurer’s report Bert $2,711, recent expenditures: canopy

Newsletter, first edition published and circulated. Great success! Thank you Scott Mahan.

Report by Mary Olson, reviews her recent visit to Oslo for presentation to ICAN. The meeting geared towards youth. Mary also had a meeting with the Norwegian Nuclear Regulators, with good attendance. Mary reviewed some aspects of The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and her contribution to the treaty pertaining to the disproportionate impact of ionizing radiation on women ant girls. She noted her ongoing work as the Director of The Gender and Radiation Impact Project which promotes research into the impact of gender and age upon the effect of ionizing radiation.

Report by Scott Mahan, Climate Change Group,

On 4 22 23,the chapter held an Educational booth,at a Carrier Park, Earth Day Celebration and 5 K race, Focused on nuclear weapons and climate change and provided information about the work of PSR. It was a very popular booth. Had a free plant give-away. We distributed sixty small potted plants. Attracted mostly young people after they participated in the K race. Many gave their e-mail addresses and agreed that we send our (first) newsletter to them. (thank you to Brita for preparing the potted plants, and to Leslie for designing the PSR magnets that we distributed. The potted plants had brief information re nuclear and environmental issues. Thirty people signed an e-mail list requesting that we send them a copy of (our first) Chapter Newsletter. Thank you to Scott Mahan for all his work in arranging the event and setting up the canopy (and other helping group members). The event was a big success for public education. +

- River clean project, planned for June 4th, a section of the French Broad River. Planned in conjunction with GreenWorks.

- Recommend we look up City Council's Website for information about eliminating single use plastic bags

-Mary and Dot describe the process proposed for Nuclear Fuel Services, a plant in Unicoi County, to perform “purification” of uranium. this involves taking highly enriched uranium and subjecting it to a process (Ames process) that removes “Impurities” that have accumulated in stored uranium

-On 5/18/23, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Meeting, Unicoi County Courthouse, Erwin TN, re Two year review on Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS) performance plus opportunity for public comments. Event preceded by an anti-nuclear rally, on steps of courthouse. Rally sponsored by Appalachian Peace Education Center. Fifty attendees, including several from WNCPSR. Scott Baker delivered an outstanding presentation.

Of note, The NRC staff said NFS is doing well. Interestingly. NRC nor NFS did not mention a recent accident event. One of the public speakers pointed this out to NRC who then addressed it. The meeting was structured so that NRC first gave their report with NFS in attendance. Then when it came time for public questions and comments, NFS representatives got up from their chairs and left the meeting. The public audience protested their exit, to no avail.

Dr Michael Ketterer shared findings of uranium in the Nolichucky River; he states that some of this uranium can be identified as being from the NFS Plant, found as distant as 50 miles downriver.

Plan: 1.Complete and mail feed back and consider a letter

2. Dot recommends we videotape Scott’s excellent presentation and put it on the website and U Tube

3. Clarify who, if anyone, monitors off the worksite for radioactive substance generated from the work site.

- Business cards: continued work on details, ready with-in a month. Thank you to Leslie for design of the logo and to Scott Baker for his work on the card.

- Report, by Bert, Committee on Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, (CAN). Considering a petition to establish a cease-fire in Ukraine accompanied by specific conditions such as all foreign troops withdrawing

Letters: -Scott Baker and Dot had a letter to the editor published in the Asheville Citizen Times on 5/10/23, “What we can do to Prevent a Nuclear War”

- letter by Bert to North Carolina legislators circulated and signed by attendees. 

Executive Committee, ongoing address of issues listed last meeting

Phil Bisesi -recommends we establish an Ethics Committee with participants from several disciplines to address the cost of medical care.

Discussion on the chapter’s position on nuclear energy. Leslie shared information supporting the key role that use and reliance on nuclear energy presents major concerns. She recommends we place more emphasis opposing nuclear generated energy. Plan: We each will prepare our thoughts to continue to address this issue. Leslie will present a summary to facilitate discussion in the next meeting. Dot Sulock states she is opposed to reliance on nuclear generated energy and agrees that the chapter adopt such a position.

Creative Art Day Gathering, organized by Mary Olson, will be held on Wednesday, May, 31st. 10:00AM -4:00 PM. One focus will be on creating signs. Lunch will be provided

Communicate with Mary Olson for more information and to register.

Next meeting 6/16/23

Terry Clark