Responding to Radiological Terrorism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Public reactions play a key role in determining the overall economic, social, physical, and psychological impacts of radiological terrorism. Even incidents with low casualty rates can produce widespread anxiety and behaviour change, as radiation scores highly on psychometric measures of fear and dread, related to lack of control, unfamiliarity, potentially fatal consequences, and high risk to future generations. The chapter argues that understanding and informing public reactions is central to the success or failure of the radiological terrorism response. Specifically, it draws on risk theory and real-world case studies to explore psychological and behavioural responses to radiological terrorism. The chapter also discusses data from two projects that developed and tested communication interventions for use in ‘dirty bomb’ and covert radiation release scenarios. In so doing it establishes core principles for effective risk and crisis communication that are crucial for a successful response to radiological terrorism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Nuclear Security
EditorsChristopher Hobbs, Sarah Tzinieris, Sukesh K Aghara
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jun 2023


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