The future of the nuclear community will not resemble the past. Suddenly gone are the years of blind public trust, cheers for building the bomb that ended a world war, and the unquestioned alliance of patriotism and Pu. Awakened by the radioactivity cloud from Chernobyl and recent revelations of major releases during Hanford's early years, the public is demanding to play a part in its own future in suddenly jam-packed hearings. After four decades, nuclear pioneers should consider that a technology fashioned largely in the vacuum of war-driven secrecy is now being judged-fairly ar not-alongside the rather unforgiving measures of present-day politics, economics and morality. The spiral of distrust may continue without a semblance of the following remedies. (1) The press and the public need to become better educated in radiation basics to start making more informed decisions on multi-billion-dollar issues. (2) Because reasoned public discussions of anything nuclear is at an impasse, supporters and critics of nuclear activities should spend less time trying to discredit their opponents and more time trying to understand why they think as they do. (3) The radiation-protection community should welcome scrutiny for one simple reason: no other way exists to regain public trust and respect.
©1988Health Physics Society