SPECIFIC COMMENTS ON SUMMARY BOOKLET

The committee strongly endorses RAC's effort to inform the public of its findings through the development of a simply written, concise booklet summarizing the radiation doses and risks stemming from past Feed Materials Production Center operations. We find parts of the booklet generally well written, but we take serious exception to the figures on pages 11 and 13, particularly the latter. This figure is misleading. The use of a broken scale distorts the visual impression of the cancer background rate, on the one hand, and the releases from the Fernald facility, on the other. Errors (variation) in background cancer rates are not indicated and there is a desperate need for captions for these figures. Moreover, the scale on the figure on page 13 reads “risk of fatal cancer,” seeming to imply any cancer, whereas the report itself rightly emphasizes cancer of the lung, inasmuch as the only potentially important doses are related to radon.

The summary booklet of the report does a poor job of risk communication. This is a complex task for which RAC should have sought more guidance. Nearly all activities that benefit society are also associated with risk. All industrial facilities subject the surrounding community to additional risk (from increased automobile traffic, pollutants, and so on); however, these risks are offset by a variety of benefits. This report estimates the magnitude of the risk associated with the radiologic hazard of this facility but does not compare that risk with the nonradiologic hazards associated with the facility or with other industrial facilities throughout the country. Some concise generic discussion of risks and benefits of industrial facilities would have been helpful.



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A REVIEW OF THE RADIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENTS CORPORATION'S FERNALD DOSE RECONSTRUCTION REPORT SPECIFIC COMMENTS ON SUMMARY BOOKLET The committee strongly endorses RAC's effort to inform the public of its findings through the development of a simply written, concise booklet summarizing the radiation doses and risks stemming from past Feed Materials Production Center operations. We find parts of the booklet generally well written, but we take serious exception to the figures on pages 11 and 13, particularly the latter. This figure is misleading. The use of a broken scale distorts the visual impression of the cancer background rate, on the one hand, and the releases from the Fernald facility, on the other. Errors (variation) in background cancer rates are not indicated and there is a desperate need for captions for these figures. Moreover, the scale on the figure on page 13 reads “risk of fatal cancer,” seeming to imply any cancer, whereas the report itself rightly emphasizes cancer of the lung, inasmuch as the only potentially important doses are related to radon. The summary booklet of the report does a poor job of risk communication. This is a complex task for which RAC should have sought more guidance. Nearly all activities that benefit society are also associated with risk. All industrial facilities subject the surrounding community to additional risk (from increased automobile traffic, pollutants, and so on); however, these risks are offset by a variety of benefits. This report estimates the magnitude of the risk associated with the radiologic hazard of this facility but does not compare that risk with the nonradiologic hazards associated with the facility or with other industrial facilities throughout the country. Some concise generic discussion of risks and benefits of industrial facilities would have been helpful.