Risk, Scale and Exclusion in Canadian Nuclear Fuel Waste Management
AbstractSince the mid 1980’s Canada’s plans for nuclear fuel waste (NFW) management, and the authority and knowledge of the nuclear industry have been brought into question. One of the most significant contemporary challenges to the narratives and claims of the nuclear industry about the safety of NFW, its effects and its management, is the experience of Aboriginal peoples, such as the Serpent River First Nation (SRFN), with different parts of the nuclear fuel chain. This paper interrogates the means through which the nuclear industry (through the work of the newly formed Nuclear Waste Management Organization) maintains control over the production of knowledge about NFW and contains and redirects the challenges to their accounts presented by Aboriginal peoples. I identify a discourse of ‘modern risk’ as instrumental to the industry’s success, and using insights from recent scholarship on scale and power, examine the relationship cast between the knowledge of the nuclear industry and of the SRFN. I argue that the discourse of modern risk is a scalar discourse that normalizes the claims of the nuclear industry and disqualifies those of the Serpent River First Nation by scaling knowledge.
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