Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Web Site Siting: Radiation Answers

One of the scarier things one can contemplate happening is being irradiated, and anything so scary is going to be riven with taboo and fear-driven misinformation - popular culture, never shy to amping up fear, shows victims being baked from the inside, developing ghastly sores, rapidly sickening and dying. Dispelling fears surrounding nuclear energy has been an uphill but mostly successful battle, but radiation and its effects...

So the site Radiationanswers.org is a welcome taboo buster. The site was created by the Health Physics Forum, which describes itself thusly:

The Health Physics Society is a non profit scientific professional organization whose mission is excellence in the science and practice of radiation safety.

What is valuable about the site is that it does not sugar coat its subject matter or try to spin away concerns about radiation. Instead, it contextualizes them so what may be considered fearful and what need not be feared are given their proper due.

Here's how their press release puts it:

The HPS undertook a year-long effort to create a site specifically aimed at providing radiation information to the public because of comments from U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Dale Klein that the radiation industry “has not been sufficiently proactive in educating the public about what is a real danger and what is not.”

The Citizen’s Guide to Radiation is authoritative, scientifically accurate, and understandable in addressing questions being asked by the public about radiation. It was created with guidance from advisory groups such as the American Medical Association, the Electric Power Research Institute, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, Inc., the Interagency Steering Committee on Radiation Standards, and the Center for Construction Research and Training (formerly the Center for Protection of Workers' Rights).

As that list of groups suggests, the most important factors in this site's creation is that it be thorough and truthful and that it can be trusted to educate without institutional or corporate spin. This mirrors NEI's approach to discussing the world of nuclear energy and it is always greatly appreciated when others adopt the same approach (NEI provided a grant for the site, but did not control its creation.) Pay it a visit and see what you think. If you have feedback to make it better, it would surely be welcomed by the Health Physics Forum.

1 comment:

Robert Hargraves said...

I would think this site should have some discussion of BEIR VII. Its lack strains credulity.