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Presenting the results of a complex study to both technicians and a non-technical readership: the case study of the probabilistic safety assessment of the Dodewaard (Netherlands) nuclear power plant

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1 Author(s)
van Loon, A.J. ; R&D Text Consulting, Oosterbeek, Netherlands

The Dodewaard nuclear power plant was suddenly shut down in 1997 while still in a process of (mainly technical) modification. This modification project had made a new operation licence necessary, for which a large number of analyses had to be performed, including a probabilistic safety assessment. This metres-thick set of reports had to be summarized for the technical experts of the authorities involved and for the Dutch population as a whole. Summarizing such a report for highly different readerships is a problem, partly because the various readers may interpret the same text in different ways. In addition, different texts for the different target groups should not give rise to the impression of either group that these texts are not 100% consistent. The in-house editor was therefore charged with the preparation of the various summaries. The final test, however, was taken care of by the PR department of the mother company, which introduced (partly through a hired third party) both mistakes and inconsistencies. It is not unlikely that this approach, in which the composing author/editor was overrule by a PR department as far as the final text and illustrations were concerned, contributed to the misunderstanding in the Netherlands regarding the safety of nuclear energy

Published in:

Professional Communication Conference, 1998. IPCC 98. Proceedings. 1998 IEEE International  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

23-25 Sep 1998