AUTHORMalin, Stephanie A.
TITLEThe Price of Nuclear Power: Uranium Communities and Environmental Justice
PUBLISHERRutgers University Press
CITYNew Brunswick, NJ

The author, an environmental sociologist, considers the history and future impacts of uranium mining on the American West through a focused, ethnographic study of uranium mining communities of the Colorado Plateau circa 2015. Drawing on her fieldwork there, she examines the complexity arising from different views of environmental justice and nuclear power's sustainability. She argues that expansion of the nuclear power industry in the area enhances social divisions, amplifies economic inequality, and threatens the social fabric of communities. She asserts that renewed uranium production is not a sustainable form of energy for the area compared to renewable energy prospects, and that jobs produced by the uranium industry are dependent on unstable global uranium markets. Interviews with residents show ambivalent feelings about uranium mining: that while it has led to medical problems and deaths among them, it is vital to their economy. The book also surveys the boom and bust history of mining, beginning with the Manhattan Project and continuing through the Cold War, as well as litigation over the environmental damage from mining and milling uranium. A chapter describes the conflict over the proposed Pinon Ridge uranium mill, the first such mill to be permitted since World War II. The final chapter contains the author’s conclusions and proposed solutions to resolve the situation.

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