Nuclear knowledge

By By Paige Fieldsted and By Paige Fieldsted

By Paige Fieldsted

Danielle Endres has been passionate about the environment since she was a teenager. Now the U communication professor has been awarded a professorship to fund her research on nuclear waste and its connection to the environment.

After Endres received her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Oregon, Endres changed her emphasis and received a master’s and doctorate degree in communication from San Diego State University and the University of Washington, respectively.

“I prefer communication because it is more actively engaged in contemporary issues,” Endres said. “But my background in history allows me to have a great understanding of what brought us to a certain point.”

Endres began her research on nuclear waste as a graduate student at the University of Washington four years ago and continued it when she came to the U in the fall of 2005.

“I think that growing up being involved in the environmental movement made me very aware of nuclear energy and its byproducts,” Endres said. “Nuclear waste is really an issue in Utah and Nevada. I am really lucky to be working here.”

Because of her research, Endres was awarded the Environmental Humanities Professorship, a new program that funds a professor who is doing research in environmental humanities.

“My work deals with how we talk about where to put nuclear waste,” Endres said. “I plan on writing several journal articles and a book on nuclear waste sighting.”

“(Endres’) work encompasses a range of disciplinary perspectives and is guided by a concern for environmental wellbeing and social justice,” said Brenden Kendall, a graduate student in communication.

While no waste is currently being stored in Utah or Nevada, Endres said several sites have been picked out and waste could be transported here within the next couple of years.

“If everything goes as planned, the waste could be transported and stored safely,” Endres said. “But if an accident happens, widespread release could happen.”

Endres also said the public needs to be more involved in nuclear waste decisions.

“A faade system of public decision appears to be democratic and invites open opinion, but citizen voices are rarely given much weight in decisions,” Endres said.

“We can bury nuclear waste literally and figuratively,” Kendell said. “I prefer to live in a society that is willing to engage ongoing public deliberation in order to make change possible. I think (Endres’) scholarship encourages such a stance.”