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Academy Hosts Workshop on Public Perceptions of Nuclear Waste Repositories


Press Release

The Academy hosted a workshop on the Public Perceptions of Nuclear Waste Repositories at its headquarters in Cambridge on April 30, 2009. The workshop is part of the Academy’s Scientists’ Understanding of the Public project, which is examining how to improve the scientific community’s understanding of public concerns about science and technology. Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the project reverses the more common question of public understanding of science by asking what scientists know or should know about the public’s concerns.

Chaired by Thomas Isaacs of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Stanford University, this workshop focused on the construction of nuclear waste repositories. Workshop participants included leaders and scientists from academia, national laboratories, and nonprofit organizations, as well as public policy experts, ethicists, journalists, and former public officials. The international group discussed the public’s safety concerns with nuclear energy, especially those encountered when siting a nuclear repository. They also considered what obligations scientists have to understand the broader social, ethical, and cultural context in which their work is received by the general public.

The workshop is one of a series the Academy is hosting on specific topics of importance to society. Other topics include the Next Generation of the Internet and the Use of Personal Genetic Information.


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