Proposed High-Level Nuclear Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Phase II Sociocultural Risk assessment and Monitoring Variables Report

This document, the preliminary draft of the Phase II Sociocultural Risk Assessment and Monitoring Variables Report, presents the findings of research carried out during Fiscal Year 1994 (FY94) by Impact Assessment Inc., for the Clark County Department of Comprehensive Planning, Nuclear Waste Division. This ongoing research is directed at understanding the social impacts that may be associated with the site characterization phase and the possible location of a high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The report provides an analysis of the current level of public concern about the Yucca Mountain Project, and identifies variables that are useful for tracking public concern and public response.

To understand and monitor changing public concerns and actions that could result in negative impacts to community wellbeing, the salience of issues, including risk perceptions regarding the Yucca Mountain Project, must be placed in context. Negative impacts can be exacerbated if citizens lose trust in the ability of local government to protect their health, safety, and quality of life. Thus, to aid local government planners, the Clark County Nuclear Waste Repository Program's research of special repository-related socioeconomic impacts emphasizes evaluating risks in their historical, social, and cultural context of Clark County.

This phase of the multi-method research approach includes the following: (1) Ethnographic studies to collect data about the nature of risk perceptions; key events that affect resident responses to YMP; and the behavioral consequences of events on County residents; (2) a survey of the general population in Clark County to monitor and analyze YMP in relationship to other risk concerns; and (3) archival review of newspaper and YMP information sources for the content of information communicated to the public about the YMP.