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Biden administration must end the environmental injustices of nuclear era

If nuclear energy can’t be changed into something safe, it’s a bad idea to produce it in the first place.

This June 2, 2016 file photo shows Exelon Corporation’s Clinton Power Station in Clinton, Illinois.
This June 2, 2016 file photo shows Exelon Corporation’s Clinton Power Station in Clinton, Illinois.
John Dixon/The News-Gazette via AP

President Joe Biden’s executive order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, created the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) to advise the federal government’s efforts to address environmental injustice.

In a May report, WHEJAC recommended ruling out nuclear power under the council’s criteria for federal investments that maximize benefits and avoid harm. WHEJAC concluded that nuclear power is not beneficial to communities that have suffered from environmental injustice and are on the frontlines of radioactive exposure, contamination and environmental degradation across the entire nuclear fuel chain and radioactive waste streams.

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Instead of propping up aging reactors and perpetuating injustices, the Biden administration must implement policies that end injustice. Congress and the Biden administration should commit to phasing out nuclear power, cleaning up radioactive sites, making reparations to impacted communities and transitioning to 100% renewable energy — now.

The more nuclear power we generate now, the more radioactive waste will be stockpiled for generations far into the future. An essential boundary of appropriate tech is the boundary between matter you can change with tools on hand, and matter you can’t change. If it can’t be changed to something safe, it’s a bad idea to produce it in the first place.

Basic morality teaches us that we ought to leave the world a better place for those who come after us. If we know better, we have to do better.

Stephanie Bilenko, La Grange Park

America’s “Person of the Year”

No one is asking, but my vote for Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” goes to Eugene Goodman, the security officer inside the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, who risked his life to save our democracy.

Bob Ory, Elgin

A bad example on a national stage

Prior to the NFL football game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, the Raider players congregated on the logo of the Chiefs in the middle of the Arrowhead Stadium turf, in a childish effort to disrespect their opponents.

It dawned on me that gang members mark their turf with symbols, too. To disrespect those symbols by defacing them could result in fights and shootings in which people could die. These athletes must realize that they are viewed as role models by young people and to behave as the Raiders did on Sunday afternoon reinforces the view in gang life that symbols representing them are to be defended. Be it the NFL or the streets of the inner city, a symbol is not worth fighting and killing over.

I would like to see NFL players grow up and be more mature, and the NFL levy stiff fines on teams that do what the Raiders did.

Antonio Acevedo, Wicker Park