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Title: The Community Environmental Monitoring Program: Reducing Public Perception of Risk through Stakeholder Involvement

Abstract

The Community Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP) has promoted stakeholder involvement, awareness, and understanding of radiological surveillance in communities surrounding the Nevada Test Site (NTS) since 1981. It involves stakeholders in the operation, data collection, and dissemination of information obtained from a network of 29 stations across a wide area of Nevada, Utah and California. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nevada Site Office (NNSA/NSO) and administered by the Desert Research Institute (DRI) of the Nevada System of Higher Education. Integration of a near real-time communications system, a public web site, training workshops for involved stakeholders, and educational programs all help to alleviate public perception of risk of health effects from past activities conducted at the NTS.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Desert Research Institute, Nevada System of Higher Education, Reno and Las Vegas, NV
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
909615
Report Number(s):
CONF-2007-03
TRN: US0703844
DOE Contract Number:
AC52-00NV13609; AC52-06NA26383
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 2007 International Symposium on Technology and Society, June 1-2, 2007, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY; MONITORING; NEVADA TEST SITE; PUBLIC ANXIETY; PUBLIC INFORMATION; INFORMATION DISSEMINATION

Citation Formats

William T. Hartwell. The Community Environmental Monitoring Program: Reducing Public Perception of Risk through Stakeholder Involvement. United States: N. p., 2007. Web.
William T. Hartwell. The Community Environmental Monitoring Program: Reducing Public Perception of Risk through Stakeholder Involvement. United States.
William T. Hartwell. Mon . "The Community Environmental Monitoring Program: Reducing Public Perception of Risk through Stakeholder Involvement". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/909615.
@article{osti_909615,
title = {The Community Environmental Monitoring Program: Reducing Public Perception of Risk through Stakeholder Involvement},
author = {William T. Hartwell},
abstractNote = {The Community Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP) has promoted stakeholder involvement, awareness, and understanding of radiological surveillance in communities surrounding the Nevada Test Site (NTS) since 1981. It involves stakeholders in the operation, data collection, and dissemination of information obtained from a network of 29 stations across a wide area of Nevada, Utah and California. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nevada Site Office (NNSA/NSO) and administered by the Desert Research Institute (DRI) of the Nevada System of Higher Education. Integration of a near real-time communications system, a public web site, training workshops for involved stakeholders, and educational programs all help to alleviate public perception of risk of health effects from past activities conducted at the NTS.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon May 21 00:00:00 EDT 2007},
month = {Mon May 21 00:00:00 EDT 2007}
}

Conference:
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  • Between 1951 and 1992, 928 nuclear tests were conducted at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), including 100 atmospheric and 828 underground tests. Initial public reaction to the tests was largely supportive, but by the late 1950s this began to change, largely as a result of fear of the potential for adverse health effects to be caused by exposure to ionizing radiation resulting from the tests. The nuclear power plant accident at Three Mile Island in 1979 served to heighten these fears, as well as foster a general distrust of the federal agencies involved and low public confidence in monitoring results.more » Modeled after a similar program that involved the public in monitoring activities around the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, the Community Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP) has promoted stakeholder involvement, awareness, and understanding of radiological surveillance in communities surrounding the NTS since 1981. It involves stakeholders in the operation, data collection, and dissemination of information obtained from a network of 29 stations across a wide area of Nevada, Utah, and California. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office (NNSA/NSO) and administered by the Desert Research Institute (DRI) of the Nevada System of Higher Education. Since assuming administration of the program in 2000, DRI has accomplished significant enhancements to the network's data collection and transmission capabilities. A robust datalogging and communications system allows for the near real-time transmission of data to a platform maintained by DRI's Western Regional Climate Center, where the data are uploaded and displayed on a publicly accessible web site (http://cemp.dri.edu/). Additionally, the CEMP can serve as part of an emergency response network in the event of an unplanned radiological release from the NTS, and also provides an excellent platform for testing new environmental sensor technologies. Finally, the CEMP provides training workshops for involved stakeholders, and educational programs, which help to alleviate public perception of risk of health effects from past activities conducted at the NTS.« less
  • Since 1981, the Community Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP) has involved stakeholders directly in its daily operation and data collection, as well as in dissemination of information on radiological surveillance in communities surrounding the Nevada Test Site (NTS), the primary location where the United States (US) conducted nuclear testing until 1992. The CEMP is funded by the US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration, and is administered by the Desert Research Institute (DRI) of the Nevada System of Higher Education. The CEMP provides training workshops for stakeholders involved in the program, and educational outreach to address public concerns about healthmore » risk and environmental impacts from past and ongoing NTS activities. The network includes 29 monitoring stations located across an approximately 160,000 km{sup 2} area of Nevada, Utah and California in the southwestern US. The principal radiological instruments are pressurized ion chambers for measuring gamma radiation, and particulate air samplers, primarily for alpha/beta detection. Stations also employ a full suite of meteorological instruments, allowing for improved interpretation of the effects of meteorological events on background radiation levels. Station sensors are wired to state-of-the-art data-loggers that are capable of several weeks of on-site data storage, and that work in tandem with a communications system that integrates DSL and wireless internet, land line and cellular phone, and satellite technologies for data transfer. Data are managed through a platform maintained by the Western Regional Climate Center (WRCC) that DRI operates for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The WRCC platform allows for near real-time upload and display of current monitoring information in tabular and graphical formats on a public web site. Archival data for each station are also available on-line, providing the ability to perform trending analyses or calculate site-specific exposure rates. This configuration also allows for remote programming and troubleshooting of sensors. Involvement of stakeholders in the monitoring process provides a number of benefits, including increased public confidence in monitoring results, as well as decreasing costs by more than 50 percent from when the program was managed entirely by U.S. federal employees. Additionally, the CEMP provides an ideal platform for testing new environmental sensors. (authors)« less
  • The 45th Space Wing Installation Restoration Program (IRP) is actively involved in addressing stakeholder`s input on historical environmental investigation and clean-up activities at Cape Canaveral Air Station (CCAS) and Patrick Air Force Base (PAFB). A formal partnering effort was established with the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) in August 1995. Partnering is a new way to foster the teamwork needed to successfully implement and execute the 45th Space Wing`s environmental restoration goals. The Partnering Team consists of a roundtable of 10 core team members representing several different organizations within the Air Force, 3more » different independent contractors, the USEPA Region IV, and the Florida DEP. The team meets monthly to review, discuss and decide on remedial activities occurring on 45th Space Wing property. The 45th Space Wing Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) was established in April 1995 to enhance stakeholder (community) involvement in the decision-making process on cleanup priorities and solicit advice from members representing the public on IRP activities. It is intended to bring together community members enabling the early and continued two-way flow of information, concerns, values and needs between the community and the base.« less
  • The Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) program is a unique initiative to provide time-relevant environmental information that is easily accessible and clearly communicated to residents in 86 of the nation's largest metropolitan areas. EMPACT is a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program to use innovative and time-relevant monitoring and communication technologies. President Clinton articulated his vision for right-to-know programs when he directed the EPA to provide local environmental information to communities. EPA Administrator Carol Browner created EMPACT and other programs to meet this vision, giving EMPACT the goal of providing timely, useful and accurate environmental andmore » public health information to all Americans. This paper is an analysis of the status of the EMPACT program during its first 2 years. EMPACT has launched 27 environmental monitoring and communication projects, including metropolitan grants, EPA Headquarter and Regional projects, and research activities. These projects are located in 37 states and 68 cities throughout the United States, and represent significant progress towards EMPACT's goal of reaching 86 major metropolitan areas throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico by 2001. These projects focus on five principles established by EPA Administrator Browner: using advanced technology and science, establishing partnerships, increasing public access to data, communicating useful action-oriented information, and establishing a framework for sharing monitoring techniques and data between projects.« less
  • Since 1986, when Montgomery County, Maryland decided to construct a municipal solid waste Resource Recovery Facility (RRF), the County has been seeking citizen input through citizen advisory committee meetings. Due to public concern that organics, primarily dioxins, that are released from municipal waste combustion create the risk of potential health-effects including cancer, the County conducted a multiple pathway health-risk study in 1989. In this study, organics and trace metals that are known to be released from municipal waste combustors and are generally considered to be of importance from a public health perspective were addressed. The County conducted several citizen meetingsmore » for communicating the results of the health risk studies. In these meetings, some citizens living in the neighborhood of the facility still expressed concern, and asked the County to conduct an ambient monitoring program prior to and during the operation of the facility. The County agreed to conduct a multimedia environmental monitoring program. The County Council endorsed this program. The major objective of the program was to determine the existing background levels of toxics prior to the operation of the facility and incremental increases, if any, resulting from the operation of the facility. In this program organics and trace metals discussed earlier, were periodically sampled. The media sampled were: air, soil, garden vegetables, surface water, fish and sediment from the farm ponds, dairy milk and hay. This paper discusses the original design of the program, citizen input to the design of the program, results of the program, and typical issues raised by the citizens in numerous public briefing conducted by the County, and the County's responses.« less