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Risk Communication

One of the most difficult aspects of nuclear-related communication concerns the perception of risk. Audiences seek to understand radiation as it relates to their everyday activities. Technical experts rely on formal risk tools. A considerable mismatch between how specific authorities and the general public approach risk leads to many misunderstandings.

Risk assessment and risk management intersect with the field of risk communication. Each can be considered separately:

  • Risk management involves evaluating how to protect public health. Actions include scientific and technical assessments to make recommendations on how nuclear facilities and operations will proceed.
  • Risk assessment is the process that determines the factors that will inform decisions. Feasibility and impacts can be assessed using fields as diverse as chemistry, physics, toxicology, epidemiology, economics and law.
  • Risk communication is a field of academic study led by psychologists, sociologists and cognitive scientists. Through experiments and surveys, researchers explore how humans convey their reactions and responses to threats.

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