253868 Nuclear power from the perspective of communities at risk

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 1:10 PM

Jacqui Patterson, MPH , Climate Justice Initiative Director, NAACP, Baltimore, MD
With the specter of increasing energy needs over the coming years, coupled with growing recognition of the finite availability of fossil fuels, attention has turned to identification and proliferation of alternative sources of energy. For communities of color and low income communities who disproportionately host the cradle to grave processes associated with energy production, there are key factors of consideration in exploring alternative sources that don't tend to be focal aspects in the analysis conducted by decision makers. Regarding nuclear energy, Native American/indigenous communities are disproportionately impacted by uranium mining processes; African American and Latino communities are more likely to be host to uranium enrichment facilities; nuclear reactors are disproportionately located in low income communities; and Native American/Indigenous and Latino communities most often receive the waste from nuclear energy generation processes. Given the documented instances of radioactive pollution being emitted into the air and water of communities surrounding these processes, and the threats of compromised reactors due to weather events, accidents, or even terrorism, the issue of proliferation of nuclear energy requires intentional examination of risk and impact for communities. From the perspective of communities at risk, clean, safe alternative energy must be the focus of any transitional plans for the new energy economy.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the disproportionate health impact of the nuclear fuel cycle on communities of color and low income communities; and Demonstrate the need for the public and decision-makers to fully incorporate environmental justice as a key factor when exploring energy choices.

Keywords: Environmental Justice, Climate Change

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Jacqueline Patterson is the Director of the Climate Justice Initiative at the NAACP. Most recently a global women’s rights consultant, Jacqui Patterson has enjoyed a fulfilling career working in the capacities of researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women‘s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. Since 2007 Patterson has served as coordinator for an organization she co-founded, Women of Color United. Previously, Patterson served as a Senior Women’s Rights Policy Analyst for ActionAid where she ensured the integration of a women’s rights lens for the issues of food rights, macroeconomics, and climate change as well as the intersection of violence against women and HIV&AIDS.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.