Earthquakes and Nuclear Waste: A Lesson in Media Relations

by Sean M. Patrick, Science Applications Intl Corp, Las Vegas, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993


The Little Skull Mountain earthquake on June 29, 1992 marked the beginning of a challenging period for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project's (YMP's) Public Affairs department. We needed to relay complicated and difficult to understand scientific principals in an easily understandable fashion to local and national media who were hungry for detailed information. Volumes of quickly accumulating data was swiftly sorted, interpreted, and placed in context with other data in order to be properly presented. The main difficulty in this situation was attempting to assure that the information presented led to an intellectual and not emotional analysis of the earthquake.

Subject Headings: Earthquakes | Radioactive wastes | Waste disposal | Public information programs | Public policy | Mountains | Human factors | Geology | Nevada | United States

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