Consent-based or bribery?
The US Department of Energy on June 9 announced it will direct $26 million to “groups of university, nonprofit, and private-sector partners” who will help communities decide that they want to be the recipients of the country’s irradiated reactor fuel.
Having abjectly failed to find any safe, long-term radioactive waste management “solution” — possibly because there is none — while also failing to halt the production of nuclear waste, the DOE has now moved to what it calls “consent-based siting”.
The DOE’s interpretation of this term is that the recipients of the $26 million will “work with communities interested in DOE’s community-centered approach to storing and disposing of spent nuclear fuel.” In addition they would “ensure transparency and local support.”
But if past examples are any indicator, the “consenting” communities are likely to be those most deprived of resources, especially Indigenous communities and communities of color, who may feel pressured to accept the DOE largesse along with the fatal outcomes of living alongside high-level radioactive waste.
While U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, insists that “it is vital” that “DOE works to be good stewards of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel,” the end result is more likely to be dumping radioactive waste on communities whose “consent” and willingness is driven by economic hardship.
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