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The Nuclear Industry’s Fake Equity Concerns for People of Color via COLORLINES

It was about a year ago, in July 2010, that I settled into a pleasantly sunny conference room inside the Indian Point Energy Center to hear about how nuclear power represents the safe, clean future of electricity. Fukushima was not yet a household word here in New York State, so a representative of Entergy, which runs Indian Point and is the second largest nuclear power generator in the U.S., could still brag unselfconsciously that his firm “had a vision where they thought if one company owned a whole bunch of power plants, then maybe they could run them more efficiently.”

When the company’s rep finished his triumphant briefing, he turned the presentation over to the main event: Gregory Joseph, who is the African American deputy director of a nonprofit called Safe Healthy Affordable Reliable Energy, or SHARE. Throughout Indian Point’s 49-year existence it has been the subject of intense controversy in New York, as environmental and community groups have publicized its many dangers. Joseph’s own group, however, has added a new twist to that debate.

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  1. norma field says

    A response to an article posted earlier on this site
    http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/03/the_radioactive_racism_behind_nuclear_peace.html

    about antinuclear activism in South Africa elicited this response from a reader:

    “South Africa’s main indigenous source of energy is coal and the mining and extraction of it is definitely not doing anything to help marginalized communities, and definitely causes more deaths than the nuclear plant(s) being created. Even in the highest estimates of the impact of Chernobyl, a horrendously managed catastrophe that will never replicate itself given the safer plants of today, the impact of that disaster is nothing compared to just a few years of coal mining in emerging economies.

    What would you have a nation like South Africa do in response to the Japanese crisis — revert to coal?”

    This kind of argument surfaces frequently in national and international contexts, and it’s important for those of us who think nuclear power is too dangerous an option (putting aside the intractable issue of waste storage, even if the probability of an accident is low, the consequences are catastrophic) have to come up with good responses. We can begin by rejecting the trap posed by the so-called choice of coal or nuclear. Of course, it requires commitment to fundamental changes in our way of life everywhere, but we can’t get there by promoting nuclear in the name of equity.



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