Participation in radiological protection: from formal to informal (and back)

Chairs: Catrinel Turcanu, SCK•CEN, Azby Brown, SAFECAST (Japan) 

Abstract invitation: Risk regulators, non-governmental organizations, radiation protection practitioners and experts are currently seeking to develop specific mechanisms to engage the active participation and ownership of relevant stakeholders in various aspects of radiological protection. Formal mechanisms comprise actions such as public awareness raising activities, workshops, or consultations, with the aim of involving a wide variety of stakeholders in the governance of radiological risks. These formalized, top-down imperatives co-exist with informal, “uninvited,” or unruly forms of participation. The latter include for instance, public protests, grassroots citizen science activities, or individual actions taken up by private citizens. Such forms of participation are not well documented and generally remain under-researched – with public protests as a notable exception.
The session invites presentations from the radiation protection field, or more broadly relating to nuclear technologies, to reflect on the following and related questions: How can we identify informal participation? What is the relation between formal and informal participation? Where are the boundaries between formal and informal? How do we draw a distinction between them, conceptually and in practice? What recommendations can be drawn across these different forms of participation, with the aim of enhancing radiological protection?