monly interact with one another (see Figure 3-1). Each requires information from the others, and each needs to provide information to the others. Indeed, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish the boundaries between them.
Therefore, even though the committee focused its deliberations on risk assessment, we include the other processes in our recommendations because they are essential to the implementation of an effective environmental remediation program based on risk assessment. We have not attempted to address each of the other processes comprehensively, and we certainly would not claim that our recommendations fully address the improvements that could be made in the process as a whole. However, we have gone in some depth throughout this section into how public participation should fit into the decision-making and risk assessment process to achieve the objectives described below.
To be most effective and useful, the procedures and institutions adopted for risk assessment should satisfy several objectives.
First, they must be credible to the stakeholders and the general public. Credibility is best established if the process is open, invites participation from all stakeholders, does not incorporate real or perceived conflicts of interest, and is scientifically rigorous with independent peer review.
Second, they must operate expeditiously without threatening scientific validity. A process that appears to produce little but delay will soon lose relevance, credibility, and support. The main purpose of DOE's environmental-remediation program is to reduce risks, not to conduct studies.
Third, they should consider the full range of risks of concern to the stakeholders in the light of social, religious, historical, political, land-use, and cultural values and needs. Such wide-ranging consideration can help the process of risk assessment become an