RISK: Health, Safety & Environment (1990-2002)


Judy Treichel


[Excerpt] "Commercial nuclear reactors in the United States have been producing electricity and highly radioactive wastes for more than forty years. Originally, reluctant utilities built reactors at the urging of Congress, acting in accordance with the Atomic Energy Act. The Act called for promotion of nuclear technology and also provided a shield of secrecy allowing for extensive power to classify information. Wiretapping and other surveillance techniques were allowable if nuclear secrets or interference with nuclear programs were involved. During this time the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) provided films and comic books, and gave speeches in a public relations campaign designed to convince the public, both in the U.S. and abroad, that the same technology that created the atomic bomb could be used to vastly improve the quality of life. Throughout the period of hard sell and promotion of nuclear power, the issue of waste management and disposal was either ignored or assurances were given that there was no problem. Since the 1950s, science, business and government have claimed that solutions are available and that nuclear waste disposal is a political problem, not a technical challenge."

Repository Citation

Judy Treichel, How to Achieve Public Participation in Nuclear Waste Decisions: Public Relations or Transparent Adversary Science, 11 RISK 221 (2000).