chapter  4
Institutional Responses to Different Perceptions of Risk
WithRoger Kasperson, C. Hohenemser, J. X. Kasperson, R. W. Kates
Pages 8

The public perceives the danger of nuclear power to be substantially greater than that suggested by most experts' assessments, and the extent of the public's departure from the experts' opinion is unusually great as compared with other technologies and other risks. Institutions consider differences between lay and expert opinions in relation to the issues of nuclear power and other technological risks. There are at least two routes open to institutional response. The first is an acceptance of the double standard for nuclear energy. Second, institutional response will require a significant investment in procedures used to consider, debate, and establish policy. Extraordinary efforts are needed to help the public think out the difficult value issues that permeate nuclear-power decisions, to come to terms with risk and equity considerations, and to assure itself of the honesty and openness of the safety guardians. Institutions charged with the mangement of nuclear safety suffer from a substantial lack of credibility and public trust.