The Rhetoric of Nuclear Colonialism: Rhetorical Exclusion of American Indian Arguments in the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Siting Decision
Nuclear colonialism is a system of domination through which governments and corporations disproportionately target and devastate indigenous peoples and their lands to maintain the nuclear production process. Though nuclear colonialism is an historically and empirically verifiable phenomenon, previous studies do not attend to how nuclear colonialism is perpetuated through discourse. In this essay, I argue that nuclear colonialism is significantly a rhetorical phenomenon that builds upon the discourses of colonialism and nuclearism. Nuclear colonialism rhetorically excludes American Indians and their opposition to it through particular rhetorical strategies. I identify three interconnected strategies of rhetorical exclusion that uphold nuclear colonialism. This essay discusses nuclear colonialism and rhetorical exclusion through examination of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste siting process.