Lowrie, K., A. Kennedy, J. Hubert and M. Greenberg 2011. “Media, Local Stakeholders, and Alternatives for Nuclear Waste and Energy Facilities,” in Burger, J. (ed.) Science Stakeholders: Solutions to Energy and Environmental Issues, New York, NY: Springer (in press).
Abstract: In the early part of the twenty-first century, it appears more likely than ever that the United States will need to consider siting additional nuclear power plants as part of its overall strategy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. At the same time, there is a continuing need to manage legacy wastes from the nuclear weapon development era, as well as current and future high level wastes from power generation. An important determining factor in the ability to locate and build needed nuclear facilities will be the reaction of the nearby residents. As these proposals and projects are discussed in local arenas, their coverage by local media will serve to inform and possibly shape residents’ views about the facts and issues that are important to consider. This chapter discusses the influence of media stories on public perceptions about hazards and risks, and then presents results of a recent content analysis of stories about proposed new or expanded projects at existing nuclear power or waste sites. Finally, we describe some implications related to media, local stakeholders, and alternatives for expanding nuclear facilities in the age of the Internet.