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Rutgers University Press
The Price of Nuclear Power: Uranium Communities and Environmental Justice

The Price of Nuclear Power: Uranium Communities and Environmental Justice

by Stephanie A. MalinStephanie A. Malin


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Rising fossil fuel prices and concerns about greenhouse gas emissions are fostering a nuclear power renaissance and a revitalized uranium mining industry across the American West. In The Price of Nuclear Power, environmental sociologist Stephanie Malin offers an on-the-ground portrait of several uranium communities caught between the harmful legacy of previous mining booms and the potential promise of new economic development. Using this context, she examines how shifting notions of environmental justice inspire divergent views about nuclear power’s sustainability and equally divisive forms of social activism. 
Drawing on extensive fieldwork conducted in rural isolated towns such as Monticello, Utah, and Nucla and Naturita, Colorado, as well as in upscale communities like Telluride, Colorado, and incorporating interviews with community leaders, environmental activists, radiation regulators, and mining executives, Malin uncovers a fundamental paradox of the nuclear renaissance: the communities most hurt by uranium’s legacy—such as high rates of cancers, respiratory ailments, and reproductive disorders—were actually quick to support industry renewal. She shows that many impoverished communities support mining not only because of the employment opportunities, but also out of a personal identification with uranium, a sense of patriotism, and new notions of environmentalism. But other communities, such as Telluride, have become sites of resistance, skeptical of industry and government promises of safe mining, fearing that regulatory enforcement won’t be strong enough. Indeed, Malin shows that the nuclear renaissance has exacerbated social divisions across the Colorado Plateau, threatening social cohesion. Malin further illustrates ways in which renewed uranium production is not a socially sustainable form of energy development for rural communities, as it is utterly dependent on unstable global markets. 
The Price of Nuclear Power is an insightful portrait of the local impact of the nuclear renaissance and the social and environmental tensions inherent in the rebirth of uranium mining.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813569789
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 05/21/2015
Series: Nature, Society, and Culture
Edition description: None ed.
Pages: 238
Sales rank: 680,658
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

STEPHANIE A. MALIN is an assistant professor of sociology at Colorado State University and a faculty affiliate with CSU’s Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis and the Water Center.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1   Introduction: The Paradox of Uranium Production in a Neoliberal Era
2   Booms, Busts, and Bombs: Uranium’s Economic and Environmental Justice History in the US
3   Lethal Legacies in Uranium Communities: Left in the Dust in Monticello, Utah
4   The Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill: A Transnational Corporation Comes Home
5   ‘Just Hangin’ on by a Thread’: Isolation, Poverty, and Social Dislocation
6   ‘Better Regs’ in an Era of Deregulation: Neoliberalized Narratives of Regulatory Compliance
7   Conclusions and Solutions: Social Sustainability and Localized Energy Justice
Appendix: Research Methods and Data Collection
Selected Bibliography

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