Program - Single Session

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Effective Communication in Radiation Protection

Thursday 02/09/2023

Room: Memorial Union 49

08:00 - 10:00

Chair(s): Sara Dumit, Emily Caffrey

THAM-A.1  08:00  Radiation Risk Communication Techniques. Caffrey Emily*

A very large segment of the population is fearful of radiation, and sometimes rightly so. It’s a word that conjures up images of something dangerous and invisible, and is often associated with the real fears of nuclear apocalypse that permeated the cold war era. TV dramas such as HBO’s Chernobyl certainly fuel the fear response. Public response to radiological events ranging from true emergencies such as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in 2011 to benign events such as the bucket of uranium ore discovered at the Grand Canyon Visitor’s Center in early 2019 highlight the need for effective public communication strategies. This talk covers risk communication, steps in effective risk communication, and risk communication factors. After the talk, real scenarios will be presented and the audience engaged in discussion about approaches for handling each one.

THAM-A.2  08:15  Tools for effective communication with radiation workers: Improving how to listen, relate, empathize, and communicate internal doses. Dumit Sara*, Los Alamos National Laboratory

As Occupational Internal Dosimetrists, it is part of our job to communicate internal doses and explain internal dosimetry concepts to radiation workers and regulators when necessary. Thus, it is in our best interest to improve our communication and interpersonal skills to perform our job with excellence. In this study, some tools for effective communication with radiation workers and interested parties are provided. We interviewed a total of eleven experienced internal dosimetrists, who voluntarily agreed to share their experiences and provide relevant advice to the current and next generations of occupational internal dosimetrists. In addition, relevant teachings from the literature were compiled in order to bring knowledge from the science of relating and communicating to the internal dosimetry field. Although an extensive amount of information could be presented, the focus of this work is on ways to improve how to listen, relate, empathize, and communicate internal doses at work. This study aims to share the experts’ insight collected during the interviews and also to provide the audience with resources on how to apply the concepts into their daily work.

THAM-A.4  08:30  Mitigating the Psychological Harm from Actinide Intakes. Klumpp John A.*, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Bertelli Luiz, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Hoffman Jeffrey, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Poudel Deepesh, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Waters Tom, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Investigations into possible actinide intakes, as well as the intakes themselves, may result in significant psychological harm that should be mitigated by the internal dosimetrist. Many aspects of this psychological impact are unique to actinide intakes and have not been discussed in the literature. In particular, employees may have difficulty understanding the lengthy dose assessment process, uncertain results, and committed doses. This presentation reviews some of these unique considerations and describes how the Internal Dosimetry Team at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has, with input and guidance from LANL psychologists, tried to address them. The presentation will discuss how harm can be prevented in advance through education, and mitigated following an incident or elevated routine bioassay through improved communication. Given the lack of reliable, publicly available resources pertaining to internal doses, and the complexity of internal dosimetry, it is important to provide educational resources which specifically deal with this topic.

THAM-A.5  08:45  Scenarios.    

After learning about effective risk communication techniques, attendees will be presented with real-world scenarios and discuss how to address each situation.

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