Two-Way Communication: A Case Study in Improving Public Interactions

by Beatrice Reilly, Science Applications Intl Corp, Las Vegas, United States,
Paula Austin, Science Applications Intl Corp, Las Vegas, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993


Successful public interaction requires several key elements. They include: a non-intimidating forum for exchanging information, two-way communication, advance preparation to identify what each party wants to learn, and feedback. There is no single approach that guarantees success. Factors such as technical complexity of the issue, level of support by the public, and trust and confidence among the parties all play a role in determining the most workable approach for any particular situation. By focusing on a specific case involving the communication of nuclear waste issues in Nevada, this paper illustrates lessons learned by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in communicating controversial issues to the public. In particular, this case study traces the last three years of utilizing various communication approaches with Nevada citizens and identifies an approach that appears to be effective for DOE.

Subject Headings: Case studies | Professional development | Public participation | Waste storage | Radioactive wastes | Waste disposal | Geology | Public policy | Nevada | United States

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