This paper reflects on the credibility of nuclear risk assessment in the wake of 2011 Fukushima meltdowns. In democraIc states, policymaking around nuclear energy has long been premised on an understanding that experts can objecIvely and accurately calculate the probability of catastrophic accidents. Yet the Fukushima disaster lends credence to the substanIal body of social science research that suggests such calculaIons are fundamentally unworkable. Nevertheless, the credibility of these assessments appears to have survived the disaster, just as it has resisted the evidence of previous nuclear accidents. This paper looks at why. It argues that public narraIves of the Fukushima disaster invariably frame it in ways that allow risk-assessment experts to ‘disown’ it. It concludes that although these narraIves are both rhetorically compelling and highly consequenIal to the governance of nuclear power, they are not enIrely credible.
- Risk Assessment
- Nuclear industry