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Why DOE's Messages on Transportation Don't Resonate with the Public (and What DOE Can Do to Fix the Problem)

This paper describes the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) challenge in addressing public perceptions about the planned transport of spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste to a national repository. The authors focus on ways to improve one small but important component of a well-designed effort to manage social risk – namely, public outreach. After reviewing fundamental principles of risk perception, the authors examine DOE’s own public information materials from various radioactive waste shipping campaigns to determine the extent to which DOE uses such messages.