Better Understanding Public Perceptions of Risk: Possible Implications for Long-term Environmental Stewardship and Hazardous Waste Management

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In the treatment, disposition, and long-term stewardship (e.g., storage) of hazardous waste forms, questions that are of particular concern are: • What is technically feasible and safe, • What is economically affordable, • What is legally mandated and allowable, and • What is publicly acceptable? Although DOE is exerting considerable effort in making sound science-based decisions that are economical and meet legal requirements, it may be lapse in not gaining a better understanding of how public perceptions are formed. This observation appears especially true in regards to the perceived long-term integrity and safety of various proposed hazardous waste storage options. ... continued below

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Joe, Jeffrey Clark & Harbour, Gerald Lee October 1, 2002.

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In the treatment, disposition, and long-term stewardship (e.g., storage) of hazardous waste forms, questions that are of particular concern are: • What is technically feasible and safe, • What is economically affordable, • What is legally mandated and allowable, and • What is publicly acceptable? Although DOE is exerting considerable effort in making sound science-based decisions that are economical and meet legal requirements, it may be lapse in not gaining a better understanding of how public perceptions are formed. This observation appears especially true in regards to the perceived long-term integrity and safety of various proposed hazardous waste storage options. The purpose of this research was to investigate how differences in how hazardous materials are configured and how those configurations are presented affect peoples’ perceptions of how safe they are. Specifically, we designed a preliminary experiment that assessed the public’s perception of risk for various storage configurations of hazardous materials. We included into the design factors to measure participants’ deliberative and spontaneous response to the perceived safety (or danger) posed by different hazardous materials storage configurations. The critical objectives of the proposed effort were to identify specific characteristics of hazardous materials storage configuration and to identify possible differences in deliberative and spontaneous processing of those specific characteristics. Identification of these objectives is critical in understanding what does and does not constitute an acceptable approach to hazardous waste treatment, disposition, and long-term storage. FY01 TECHNICAL OBJECTIVES • Develop an experimental process for collecting perceptions regarding the perceived safety and long-term integrity of hazardous waste storage systems. • Develop a computer-based, reusable collection instrument “system” with associated graphical images. • Validate the applicability and value of the developed methodology by conducting an on-site experiment. • Submit results for publication in an applicable, peer-reviewed scientific journal. • Propose follow-on work and funding requests and submit to DOE-EM for complexwide use and applicability.

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  • Report No.: INEEL/EXT-01-01621
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • DOI: 10.2172/910669 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 910669
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc888249

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  • October 1, 2002

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 7, 2016, 7:20 p.m.

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Joe, Jeffrey Clark & Harbour, Gerald Lee. Better Understanding Public Perceptions of Risk: Possible Implications for Long-term Environmental Stewardship and Hazardous Waste Management, report, October 1, 2002; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc888249/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.