The Elephant in the Room - Quantitative Risk Analysis with an Uncertain Future.
Dr. Paul Smith, Arup, U.K.
The world and its governments need data and information. But valid data and information about extreme event disasters and severe nuclear accidents is extremely elusive, and especially if we try to analyse risk into an uncertain future that involves population growth, climate change and political instability. And all we accepted about quantified risk analysis in the nuclear industry changed on the 11th March 2011 when the severe accident at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors occurred. The lessons learnt from the accidents at Three Mile Island in 1979, Chernobyl in 1986 and now Fukushima Daiichi in 2011 must be applied. One of the most profound lessons is that the risk analysis techniques us engineers used before 2011 are now outmoded and outdated by far. Added to this reality is also the need for better disaster risk analysis with the advent of climate change. The future is characterized by an increasing global uncertainty, including the prospect for global sea rise to hazard many coastal-facing population centres. This lecture raises the major challenge of what should quantified risk analysis look like in the future.