Thinking through the issue of nuclear waste as it relates to public health is complicated for a number of reasons. First, the history of nuclear energy is related to nuclear weapons and weapons testing. This legacy is one of devastating health effects and delayed justice for many survivors of nuclear fallout (“downwinders”). Many communities, particularly indigenous peoples and the poor, have also experienced severe health effects as a result of uranium mining. Second, those in positions of authority in nuclear industries and regulatory bodies have not, historically, been transparent with the public regarding the health effects of radioactive materials. As a result, the public has lost trust in official proclamations regarding safety. Third, the debates over nuclear waste and its effects have been deeply polarizing—those ...

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