A May 3 article in the Washington Informer and other publications examined how “Obama’s nuclear energy proposal sparks debate among black environmentalists.” For the African-American community, the prospect of new nuclear plant project is fraught with question about environmental injustice as much as benefits of creating sustainable jobs.
When President Obama awarded the first conditional loan guarantee to a nuclear project in Burke County, Ga., is bringing these questions about nuclear energy to the fore. This award also launched the first new U.S. nuclear plant project in decades, which will bring thousands of jobs and invest billions of dollars in the regional economy.
There are those who are weary to call the placing of the new nuclear reactors in Burke County environmental racism. Proponents of nuclear energy see the building of the reactors as more jobs and clean energy. However, Bullard said that he cannot ignore the pattern of environmental injustices African-Americans and other minorities have faced.
Dr. Robert Bullard is an expert on environmental injustice and activist.
Bullard’s sentiments indicate that nuclear advocates who desire to expand in the U. S. must work hard to dispel fears. Anne Lauvergeon is CEO of AREVA, a France-based multi-nation conglomerate that is known around the world for its nuclear energy facilities, including in the U. S. AREVA has invested over $3 billion to rejuvenate the nuclear energy industry in the United States. But, Lauvergeon says she realizes the hurdles that must be overcome as AREVA attempts to expand; especially in or near racially diverse communities.
“Fears about nuclear waste, fears about the technologies are normal. We have to accept it and we have to take it into account,” she said in an interview with the NNPA News Service last summer. She says the key will be continued sensitivity, listening, communicating and coming to a mutual understanding.
Click here for the full article, which was published by the NNPA News Service, which serves over 200 black community newspapers across the United States.