Perceived risk shapes human behavior but can be influenced

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Abstract

The behavior of people is affected by their perceptions of risk. Radiation protection is no exception, as is illustrated by the strong aversion of people to artificial radioactivity, internal contamination, contaminated food and living in a (slightly) contaminated area. The calculation by the United Nations of the public exposure from the nuclear fuel cycle can be used to illustrate how public perception can be influenced. In normal operation, the individual doses to the local population are low. UNSCEAR's estimate of the total collective dose from the nuclear fuel cycle is 0.72 manSv/GWyear. Using this value, with an average of 278 GW per year produced in the world in the 1998-2002 period, an annual collective dose of about 200 manSv is calculated. UNSCEAR does not include reactor accidents in this figure, as they combine a small probability with far-reaching consequences. However, the collective dose from the Chernobyl accident has been estimated by UNSCEAR to 295.000 manSv. This corresponds to 1500 years of exposure from the nuclear fuel cycle in normal operation. So looking at the public exposure from a normal operation point of view or including reactor accidents changes the perspective completely and consequently influences the public perception.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnalen van de Belgische Vereniging voor Stralingsbescherming
Place of PublicationBrussel, Belgium
Pages139-144
Volume2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2013
Event50th anniversary of the Belgian Association for Radiological Protection - BVS-ABR, Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 8 Apr 201310 Apr 2013

Publication series

NameAnnalen van de Belgische Vereniging voor Stralingsbescherming
NumberVol. 38, N°2

Conference

Conference50th anniversary of the Belgian Association for Radiological Protection
CountryBelgium
CityBrussels
Period2013-04-082013-04-10

Keywords

  • Risk perception, ionizing radiation, Fukushima, Chernobyl, radiation protection

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