HPS 66th Annual Meeting
July 25th-29th 2021
WPM-D - Special Session: Environmental Justice
North 226ABC 14:30 - 17:15
14:30 An Introduction to Environmental Justice LM Manglass*, Francis Marion University
Abstract: To begin the Environment and Radon section’s special session on Environmental Justice, this presentation will introduce the audience to the topic of Environmental Justice. Defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies,” the field seeks to provide justice all communities impacted by environmental consequences of industrial, commercial, or government actions. This presentation will introduce critical concepts related to understanding environmental justice. As part of this introduction, the presentation will discuss the intersection of environmental justice with the radiation protection industry and how environmental justice efforts can be applied to address actions of the nuclear industry in the past, present, and future. The presentation will also review the state of environmental justice programs in United States regulatory agencies such as the EPA, Nuclear Regulatory Industry, and the Department of Energy.
14:45 Justice as a Core Value in the System of Radiological Protection NE Martinez*, Clemson University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Abstract: Justice is one of the core ethical values or principles of the system of radiological protection, defined as “the upholding of what is right, equitable, and fair” and further elaborated upon in ICRP Publication 138. Justice as a value is evident throughout the system of protection but is perhaps most clearly associated with reducing inequities in dose distributions and in the fair distribution of risks and benefits. ICRP Publication 91, though, is the first ICRP publication to explicitly mention environmental justice, one of several principles considered to have international consensus with respect to protection of the environment. Drawing from the United Nations 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the discussion in Publication 91 primarily focuses on the relationships between nations rather than within a nation or at the local community level. However, this publication emphasizes the need to provide environmental justice and have respect for human dignity (also a core value specified in Publication 138), which transitions into the type of environmental justice more commonly referred to today; Publication 138 defines environmental justices as “equitable distribution of environmental risk and benefits; fair and meaningful participation in environmental decision making; and recognition of community ways of life, local knowledge, and cultural differences.” This presentation discusses justice in the context of the system of radiological protection, and specifically how issues of environmental justice are relevant and important to the practice of radiation protection.
15:00 Using a multidisciplinary approach to address the ramifications of the Cold War era on Indigenous Peoples. CN Jospeh*, Arizona State University
Abstract: There are approximately 15,000 defense-related abandoned uranium mines located in 14 states with an estimated 14% on federal and tribal land. Uranium mill tailing, often referred to as legacy waste, comprise the largest volume of any category of radioactive waste in the Nation. The U.S. continues to direct federal dollars to improve the science and technology for the long-term management of uranium waste; however, what often remains at the hindsight is how land disturbance, as a result of extraction, has unjustly positioned Indigenous People to respond to the unique challenges this presents in their communities. In this talk we will 1) discuss the historical ramifications of the Cold War era on Indigenous People, 2) share how science and technology continues to evolve at legacy sites and 3) describe how Indigenous Data Sovereignty advances data for health and environmental justice.
16:00 Leveraging State Standards To Embed Science Ethics Education In High School Curricula AH Ortiz*, University of Arizona
Abstract: The landscape of science education is changing with the creation and induction of learning standards directly from or inspired by the Framework for K-12 Science Education, which emphasizes concepts and practices that cut across the various disciplines of science. While some of these standards do not explicitly ask students to evaluate ethical considerations of scientific technology, the state of Arizona asks students to “obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about how the use of chemistry-related technologies have had positive and negative ethical, social, economic and/or political implications.” This presentation will discuss a recent attempt to meet this standard in an Arizona high school by using local history and context to engage students in an exploration of nuclear chemistry concepts. We will answer the questions: What possibilities exist for inducting students into the sociocultural, ethical, and political implications of science and technology? What responsibility does K-12 public education have to establish this induction? How can science educators aid in achieving justice in communities historically impacted by the nuclear fuel cycle?
16:30 Elemental Contamination of Navajo Unregulated Water Sources JC Ingram*, Northern Arizona University
Abstract: The goal of this project is to determine health risks and community impacts from exposure to environmental toxicants through contamination of water in Navajo communities. During the Cold War the Navajo Reservation produced the largest supply of both raw and processed uranium ore purposed for nuclear munitions. Although uranium mining ended in the 1980s, the effects of mining left a legacy on the Navajo people and the landscape. Increasingly research is demonstrating that other elemental contamination outside of the primary ore mined can result from mining activities. These contaminants can leach into ground and surface water systems and have detrimental health effects on a population. This study seeks to identify and quantify possible elemental contaminants that may exist in unregulated water systems and to characterize water quality across the Navajo Nation. The study utilizes a community-engaged research model to explore exposure pathways and identify culturally applicable and community constructed models for mitigation of the identified toxicants on Navajo communities. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) was utilized to detect contaminants within samples collected from unregulated water supplies. Because all samples are collected from water sites labeled as “unregulated,” there is no legal obligation to regularly monitor these sites or warn communities of any dangers that may exist due to contamination. The research demonstrated that a large proportion of the sites sampled exceeded the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended maximum contamination level in one or more of the elements analyzed. Additionally, the research has demonstrated that these other elemental contaminants are more ubiquitous than uranium, and potentially pose a larger threat. All information gathered from this study has been shared with communities affected to educate and warn them of the dangers associated with these water sites.
17:00 Socio Environmental Impacts at Uranium Mine Impacted Sites JT Hargraves*, Oregon State University
; SM Kustka, Oregon State University; J Newmyer, Oregon State University; BF Elmore II, Oregon State University; KA Higley, Oregon State University
Abstract: From the 1950s to the mid 1980s, periods of uranium mining in the United States were prolific throughout the Colorado Plateau up through states of the north and northwest. While these mines and subsequent mills contributed in many ways to the establishment of fields of study and technological development, modern objectives have focused on the environmental and social impacts of these sites in regional history and community development. Current methods of environmental remediation of legacy sites are of particular interest to current holders and local community leaders, with cost effective and ecologically feasible methods preferred. Techniques, such as phytoremediation, or its alternative, phytostabilization, are environmentally passive techniques that may provide these options for cleanup. These techniques, as well as the implementation of one such technique in study, are explored. Impact on community development and historical relevance are weighed equally in terms of site maintenance and remediation. As part of an ongoing effort to remediate such sites, phytoremediation is discussed in depth regarding the analysis of endemic plants and soils through lysimeter replicate study and potential in situ growth. Concurrently, the economic impact of this site to the community and holder, the relationship between the site’s remediation, and the community and holder responsibilities and needs will be discussed. This work is done in part by funding through BHP, Legacy Assets.