Social learning aims to produce a change in both understanding and behavior on the part of individuals that diffuses to wider social units and communities of practice. This paper asks: What lessons from the social learning literature can be applied to research and public engagement with respect to radiation exposure risk? Five key lessons were assembled, and recent survey results were used to demonstrate how these lessons can be applied to outline a risk communication strategy that includes, but is not limited to, well-designed engagement. The marked divergence between public and “expert” opinion on radiation exposure risk remains at the heart of current debates over the role of nuclear energy in tackling climate change. Earlier literature tended to be dismissive of the risk gap, siding with the experts and branding the public “radiophobic.” We show how applying the findings of the literature review to the design and analysis of the survey can overcome shortcomings of past approaches and build on strengths. This paper seeks to demonstrate the importance and interrelated nature of mixed-methods studies where quantitative and qualitative analysis is combined. This includes avoiding overly binary approaches of study and finding ways to open up conversations and exchanges. This exploration of social learning and public engagement highlights the potential barriers nuclear energy faces in contributing to the future energy mix and challenges current practices to be more perceptive to the spectrum of public positions to radiation exposure risk.