Public Education, Public Confidence, and Public Acceptance of Radioactive Waste Management Facilities

by Ginger P. King, U.S. Dept of Energy, Washington, United States,
Jonathan Katz, U.S. Dept of Energy, Washington, United States,
John F. Munro, U.S. Dept of Energy, Washington, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1991


This paper critically examines the conventional assumption that public opposition is a function of public illiteracy and emotionalism by reviewing recent articles on radioactive waste siting programs that suggest that greater knowledge of HLW programs may well heighten public concern. Our review leads us to conclude that educational efforts should be viewed as part of larger outreach efforts and that frequently the most that educational programs can do is help the public more effectively evaluate the relative risks and benefits of siting programs. Nevertheless, there is evidence that those education programs that have a strategic focus also have a greater likelihood of increasing public confidence and acceptance than do conventional public education efforts.

Subject Headings: Radioactive wastes | Public information programs | Education | Waste management | Public buildings | Public opinion and participation | Facility management

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