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Title: Risk Communication Within the EM Program

The U.S. Department of Energy Environmental Management program (EM) conducts the most extensive environmental remediation effort in the world. The annual EM budgets have exceeded $6,000,000,000 for approximately ten years and EM has assumed responsibility for the cleanup of the largest DOE reservations (i.e., at Hanford, Washington, Aiken, South Carolina, and Idaho Falls, Idaho) as well as the facilities at Rocky Flats, Colorado and in Ohio. Each of these sites has areas of extensive radioactive and chemical contamination, numerous surplus facilities that require decontamination and removal, while some have special nuclear material that requires secure storage. The EM program has been criticized for being ineffective (1) and has been repeatedly reorganized to address perceived shortcomings. The most recent reorganization was announced in 2001 to become effective at the beginning of the 2003 Federal Fiscal Year (i.e., October 2002). It was preceded by a ''top to bottom'' review (TTBR) of the program (2) that identified several deficiencies that were to be corrected as a result of the reorganization. One prominent outcome of the TTBR was the identification of ''risk reduction'' as an organizing principle to prioritize the activities of the new EM program. The new program also sought to accelerate progressmore » by identifying a set of critical activities at each site that could be accelerated and result in more rapid site closure, with attendant risk, cost, and schedule benefits. This paper investigates how the new emphasis on risk reduction in the EM program has been communicated to EM stakeholders and regulators. It focuses on the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site (RFETS) as a case study and finds that there is little evidence for a new emphasis on risk reduction in EM communications with RFETS stakeholders. Discussions between DOE and RFETS stakeholders often refer to ''risk,'' but the word serves as a placeholder for other concepts. Thus ''risk'' communication at RFETS is lively and involves important issues, but often does not inform participants about true ''risk reduction.''« less
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
826318
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Waste Management 2003 Symposium, Tucson, AZ (US), 02/23/2003--02/27/2003; Other Information: PBD: 26 Feb 2003
Publisher:
WM Symposia, Inc., Tucson, Arizona
Research Org:
ASME Environmental Communications Committee (US)
Sponsoring Org:
none (US)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; COMMUNICATIONS; CONTAMINATION; DECONTAMINATION; MANAGEMENT; ORGANIZING; REMOVAL; SCHEDULES; STORAGE; WASTE MANAGEMENT