Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

“Very low probability” nuclear accidents mean very high taxpayer cost

The standard formulation of ‘risk’ is that it is a function of the probability of an event occurring and the magnitude of the hazard. From the viewpoint of technological optimism and managerialism, the seductiveness of a very low probability often leads people to discount the magnitude of the hazard. This distortion is amplified even further by the fact that the profits of success remain privatised, wheras the responsibility for large-scale hazards is often socialised, with Governments and taxpayers picking up the tab.

Probability and responsibility at Fukushima, Crikey, April 14, 2011 – , by John Hepburn In the long run, the least likely event will occur. Such is the nature of probability, and the nature of risk.

The environmental movement have been talking about this for some time now. It has been the basis of much of the opposition to nuclear energy and releasing genetically engineered organisms into the environment for the last several decades.

The standard formulation of ‘risk’ is that it is a function of the probability of an event occurring and the magnitude of the hazard. From the viewpoint of technological optimism and managerialism, the seductiveness of a very low probability often leads people to discount the magnitude of the hazard. This distortion is amplified even further by the fact that the profits of success remain privatised, wheras the responsibility for large-scale hazards is often socialised, with Governments and taxpayers picking up the tab.

Insurance companies are reluctant to underwrite nuclear power stations for the simple reason that, although the probability of catastrophe may be low, the potential magnitude and cost of a meltdown is staggeringly large. The only reason that nuclear power stations have been able to be built is because Governments have provided insurance and have limited the financial liability of operators……

Japanese taxpayers will undoubtedly pick up a significant portion of the cost of managing the crisis, which is expected to require serious and ongoing management for many decades. If TEPCO were to be held fully responsible for the entire long term costs of the disaster, they would probably go insolvent. In a capitalist system, this ought to happen, otherwise we perpetuate the endemic problem of short-term and sociopathic behaviour on the part of corporations who operate in the knowledge that they’ll never really be held accountable for the negative consequences of their operations….

Probability and responsibility at Fukushima | Rooted

 

April 14, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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