Re: [SystemSafety] Saying the Wrong Thing

From: Peter Bernard Ladkin < >
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2013 21:51:54 +0100


On 3/28/13 5:32 PM, Chris Hills wrote:
> In your comments you say: "Sir John, a population biologist and not a safety
> engineer, was inadvertently misleading his audience on a matter concerning
> danger."
> Yes and no. Factually he may have been misleading but panic often kills
> more than the original threat..........
> ... it was probably the right thing to say for the overall good of the
> UK population.

I think it would have been fine to say that if you're not within a couple of hundred kilometers of the incident location, there is little chance you have any immediate reason to worry.

On the other hand, he didn't even know that at the time. Three cores had been fully melted for four days and nobody had any idea of what that would have meant at that time. If he'd said "well, we have three full core melts, and a leaking, structurally damaged spent fuel pool containing more than a core's worth of fuel rods, four stories up in a structurally significantly weakened building, which needs constant water supply at the utmost limits of what we can pump to keep it at a moderate temperature, but you probably don't need to be further away than 30km" he would probably have been considered crazy.

Someone pointed out to me that this comment may have derived from a conversation he had with British Embassy staff in Tokyo. If so, it would have derived from earnest advice given to people who understand how to evaluate danger, and thus for whom panic control was unimportant. And the advice was wrong.

PBL Prof. Peter Bernard Ladkin, Faculty of Technology, University of Bielefeld, 33594 Bielefeld, Germany Tel+msg +49 (0)521 880 7319

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systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Received on Thu Mar 28 2013 - 21:52:01 CET

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