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NUCLEAR GUARDIANSHIP FORUM, On The Responsible Care of Radioactive Materials,
Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 16.


by Anne Herbert and Margaret M. Pavel

Racism makes the continuing production of nuclear waste possible. If the white people who make decisions about nuclear waste felt that the people of color in poor areas are as valuable as the decisions makers' own mothers and fathers and sons and daughters, would they continue to dump nuclear waste in those areas? If tailings from uranium mining were located next to the homes of investment bankers instead of the homes of indigenous people, would uranium mining continue?

The continuation of the nuclear cycle depends, on effect, on the practice of human sacrifice. It depends on affluent whites deciding to risk the health and lives of people who are not affluent or white. This is what "acceptable risk" often means in practice.

Mildred McClain, an African American who organizes her neighbors in Savannah River, Georgia, against the unsafe storage of irradiated nucle fuel rods near their homes says there is nothing new about what is happening there. "It's plantation politics."

Anne Herbert and Margaret M. Pavel are the co-authors of Random Kindess and Senseless Acts of Beauty, Volcano Press, Volcano, CA, 1994.

They can be reached at 2425 B Channing Way #552, Berkeley, CA 94704 USA.