Rural communities and the Nevada Test Site: What environmental issues matter to nearby residents?

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Society for Risk Analysis


The long term relationship between rural communities and nearby industrial sites is complex given the potential conflicts among economic, social and environmental factors. There are few papers that examine the relationship between rural communities of Nevada and the Nevada Test Site where the U.S. government conducted over 900 nuclear tests above and below ground between the early 1950s and 1992. Some papers such as Schwer and Waddoups (1996) examined the impact of the US nuclear moratorium on workers but did not distinguish impacts on workers living near the Nevada Test Site. To address this gap in the literature, the purpose of this paper is to measure the awareness and attitudes of citizens from rural communities surrounding the Nevada Test Site. We distributed a mail questionnaire and received 837 responses, a 14% response rate. Our results showed that the majority of respondents supported present cleanup efforts and risk reductions for future generations. To examine attitudes and awareness levels further, we presented results from multiple binary choice models to identify which characteristics were significant predictors.


Nevada – Nevada Test Site; Radioactive waste repositories – Environmental aspects; Rural population


Environmental Sciences




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