Problem for the Nuclear Power Industry
Native Americans and the nuclear waste legacy
The problem for the nuclear power industry is that radioactive wastes are building up at their commercial nuclear plants. People living near the plants don't want the waste and are demanding that it be moved. Industry and government have responded in two ways: creating at reactor storage systems that will hold the waste for up to 50 years while a permanent solution is explored and proposing a system of so-called monitored retrievable storage (MRS) sites away from reactors, where this waste could be temporarily stored.
The U.S. government targeted American Indians for several reasons: their lands are some of the most isolated in North America, they are some of the most impoverished and, consequently, most politically vulnerable and, perhaps most important, tribal sovereignty can be used to bypass state environmental laws.
How ironic that, after centuries attempting to destroy it, the U.S. government is suddenly interested in promoting American Indian sovereignty - just so it can dump its lethal garbage!
All Indian treaties and agreements with the U.S. government have been broken. Today's Indians remember yesterday's broken promises. Today's political situation in Washington, D.C., is an example of how volatile U.S. policy decisions can be.
The Indians cannot trust the federal government and certainly cannot trust the nuclear industry whose driving force is monetary profit.
Grace Thorpe, INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY, March 1995