Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Black Swans and Risk Decisions

The HIroshima Court in Japan ruled Sep 25 that Shikoku Electric Power need not suspend operations at the Ikata nuclear plant, declaring that plaintifs aiming to suspend operations there must demonstrate "credible evidence of the risk of a catastrophic volcanic eruption" in central Kyushu (the Japanese island that had hundreds of earthquakes in 2016):
Ruling puts onus on anti-nuclear plaintiffs citing volcanic risks (2018, September 26.). THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
HIROSHIMA--The Hiroshima High Court has significantly raised the bar for plaintiffs seeking suspensions of nuclear plant operations on grounds of a possible volcanic eruption. They said a pyroclastic flow from the volcano would reach the plant about 130 kilometers away in the event of an eruption on a scale similar to one that occurred about 90,000 years ago. 
But the high court dismissed their argument by referring to “socially accepted ideas.”
“The frequency of such an eruption is extremely low,” Presiding Judge Masayuki Miki said. “The government has not taken any measures to deal with it, and a large majority of the public don’t see the risks of a major eruption as a problem, either.”
He added, “Unless the court is given reasonable grounds for the possibility of a major eruption, it is a socially accepted idea that the safety of a facility will not be undermined even if measures are not in place to prepare for such a scenario.”
This argument that a high-impact event is unlikely to occur reminds me of Nassim Taleb's account of a "black swan":

Taleb describes black swans as having these 3 features:
1. Hard to predict from historical information
2. High consequence
3. Retrospective distortion (we should have seen it coming)
Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes often exhibit these features - they are hard to predict, high consequence events that we should have known were coming.

Unfortunately, in many cases we allow particular decision makers to adjudicate risk. as illustrated in the case above.

This is not an isolated example.

In 2016 a judge ruled that nuclear power constituted an acceptable level of risk in Japan:
Court rejects appeal to halt operations of Sendai reactors April 6, 2016 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
MIYAZAKI--A high court here rejected an appeal by Kyushu residents seeking to shut down the only two nuclear reactors operating in Japan, ruling that it is impossible to secure absolute safety with nuclear energy. Presiding Judge Tomoichiro Nishikawa of the Miyazaki branch of the Fukuoka High Court said April 6 that current science and technology standards cannot reach a level of safety in which no radioactive materials are emitted regardless of the severity of the accident at a nuclear plant.

“A judgment has to be made based on the standard of what level of danger a society would be willing to live with,” Nishikawa said.
The judge's decision is not necessarily representative of majority public opinion in Japan given polling results conducted by Japan's mainstream news media.

Japan's political and legal bureaucracies may give judges the authority to make this type of decision, counter to public will.

This may be legally sound, but still morally inconsistent with democratic ideals, including human rights.

Who decides when the potential consequences of a decision are catastrophic?


  1. Here is a path to think about in regards the major bullet swarm we as a human race managed to dodge...

    The structure known as the Common Spent Fuel storage unit... This structure is approximately 75 meters from a TRIO of melted down reactors, It was a genuine miracle that this event that came for the nuclear industry that day March 11 did not kill MOST of the population of this planet.

    The 5600+ tons of fuel assemblies stored there, IF burned would produce the most devastating effects for air breathing,Water drinking,Food eating surface dwelling lifeforms on this planet.

    Today you are still being threatened by this often overlooked structure and the major time bomb just waiting to go off.

    The subject of Black Swans and how they manifest in time lines has no better a situation awaiting the biosphere than this one.

    Leaving all that fuel in such close proximity to a disaster area like THREE MELTED DOWN REACTORS is a serious CRIME.

    You sitting there reading this WILL be in the direct line of fore of this simple water pool filled with the worst stuff man has ever produced.

    This day is high time to start moving on this potential planet wide life killer.

    Move the Common Fuel Storage Unit from the Fukushima Daiichi site or regret the visit of this Black Swan and all the death it harbors.

    1. Really good points! There are a lot of old,bad reactors in the USA
      Most are overloaded fuel pools and nuclear waste. Sitting ducks for Hurricanes and earthquakes.
      I did not know how dangerous used fast-burn rods are. I guess they are shipping them all over the country now. There are the dangerously contained used-fuel assemblies, on the beach, at San Onofre.
      I saw somewhere, that they just unloaed an old, floating ship in a southern port, in the usa. 600 tons of high level nuclear waste unloaded on a dock somewhere.
      There was a truck in Utah, carrying nuclear waste on a major highway . The truck caught fire!
      There is the city dump in St Louis Mo.that has nuclear waste buried in it and is on fire!
      It could be next to you, in a semi-truck barreling down an interstate!

      Nuclear waste, could be stored in a port or warehouse 10 miles, down the road from your, your pets, and family. You would not know it.
      It could be less than a hundred miles from you, if you live in an area where there is a nuclear power plant or, more than one.
      The Great lakes between the US and canada, are said to be quite contaminated by canadian nuclear waste. They want to bury more on the shores there!
      There are nuclear waste facilities, all over the USA now.

  2. I heard once a story, How that if you took one single rod from a used fuel assembly and planted it by the roadside like a sign post, A motorcycle rider moving a top speed passing that rod would get a lethal dose from the exposure.

    Point is, A fuel assembly once it has been in a reactor for 40 years is not less radioactive than the first day, It is FAR worse, In fact it is so bad it screws up the other fresh rods because it's so contaminated... You can't fathom how seriously dangerous this stuff is. They have to store this crap in casks for a very long time out in the open so air can keep the casks cool, If they did not they would overheat and burn... A used and highly contaminated fuel assembly is not something you would ever want to catch fire... An assembly has to remain in water pool cooling for about 10 to 12 years before it has cooled enough to place in a dry cask to continue cooling.

    Japan keeps all the fuel assemblies in that ONE building that came from all SIX Daiichi reactors... Hence the term Common Spent Fuel Storage Unit...

    10% of them burn and everyone in the northern hemisphere buys the farm... If half of them burn the entire planet gets it... If they all burn even the cockroaches will flip over dead.

    You don't hide from a fire like this, You are not protected by distance.... levels of rad would be so bad and over such a wide expanse the entire food and aqua chains would become toxic in a very short time span.

    Screwing up the threat this issue represents is something the planet cannot afford, But here we sit whilst the powers in control piss away the critical time we have to deal with these threats BEFORE the dying starts.

  3. My mother was killed by Fukushima Daiichi, She lived just south of Calgary. Bought the farm from adrenal gland cancer. I watched it happen. I know the cause and the timing of the decline she went through, Every single rain she became worse. Four persons in our area died in a 3 month time... All from cancer.

    Many North Americans will be killed by the contamination from that event, Not that you would ever hear about it from your doctor or coroner.

    Fact is the death toll is getting higher EVERY day from the failures of TEPCO to do their jobs properly.

    And they still run this place.

  4. Hiroshima court keeping nuclear plant open. Sometimes it's hard to deal with the irony.

  5. Target?

    You always have to look at the target....

    It's Not Japan, The target is North America.

    1. I agree that Fukushima is worse than reported but I don't agree that North America is actively targeted other than TEPCO and the LDP are happy for currents to "dilute" the ongoing contaminated water production and pollution emanating from the broken reactor containments and buildings.

      Of course, those are GE reactors that Japan was strongly encouraged to purchase from its former-occupying power the US.

  6. Flippin nut. North America was the impetus behind nuclear power in Japan. What a mean crazy man or poser

    Murica is so frikin flooded with radionuclides, from setting off thousands of bombs on it own people it is hard to comprehend.
    America has had its own multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns. MIllions of tons of nuclear waste IN AMERICA. America has its own 100 or so leaky, old-nuclear reactors and fuel pools ready to blow and set off. There are thousands of tons of nuclear fuel on fire.

    WHat is your game saying a reactor in japan is aimed at america? Are you stupid, crazy, an operative with an agenda or all 3?

    Army Corps of Engineers Dismantles Former Floating Nuclear Plant in Galveston
    More than 1.5 million pounds of radioactive waste have been safely removed from the USS Sturgis’ nuclear reactor

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, working closely with the Corps’ Galveston District, has recently completed decommissioning of the STURGIS, a former World War II Liberty Ship that was converted into the first floating nuclear power plant in the 1960s.
    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, working closely with the Corps’ Galveston District, has recently completed decommissioning of the STURGIS, a former World War II Liberty Ship that was converted into the first floating nuclear power plant in the 1960s.
    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced that a former floating nuclear plant in Galveston has been dismantled.
    More than 1.5 million pounds of radioactive waste have been safely removed from the USS Sturgis’ nuclear reactor. Additionally, more than 600,000 pounds of lead from the vessel have been recycled.
    The removal process has taken three years and the Corps said decommissioning the Army’s first and only floating nuclear reactor prototype is now complete.
    The World War II vessel was converted into a barge-mounted nuclear reactor in the 1960s.
    The Galveston Daily News reported the ship will be towed to Brownsville later this month, where it will be scrapped.""

    Much of that 600 tons of nuclear waste is high level nuclear waste that they will bury in a shallow grave By Midland Texas.

    1. Why didnt we hear about the floating nuclear reactor till now.
    2. 600 tons of hi level.nuclear waste with actinides, plutonium, enriched uranium , cesium 137 colbat 60. How does anyone even beging to handle that much highly radioactive shit in a populated area like that in s texas.
    3. How are they going to get it to its shallow grave by midland and who is going to guard the shit?
    4. If there is a reaction or explosion, that is 600tons of the most radioactive shit on earth gone sky hi.

    You sound like a crackpot nut masher with an agenda. Yhe poor people of Japan will bear the burden of a reactor catastrophe at hiroshima. They were nuclear bombed by the dumn bastard harry truman twice. They were sold down the sewer with the peaceful aton crap in the 50s and 60s.
    You sound like another neonazi, racist asshole trying to sell a cult-groupthink for more twisted distraction or personal enrichment.

    1. There would be hundreds of thousands of htons of fuels set fire if there were a few nuclear accidents in america not , there are

    2. DO some research yourself, You tell me what DIRECTION the wind Always blows from Japan, Then try to think about what went down. Most of the contamination blew right over the North American land mass.

      But we all know what your thinking and motivation is.

      If you can't do basic thinking you should stay away from commentary.

    3. You have never been to Japan. Probably not anywhere. What makes you think a meltdown in Japan always goes to Murica? Magical thinking. Conspiracy bull. Have u investigated the nukes and nuke waste areas in your area? No . Too busy with conspiracy crapola. Your country and the USA is as bad as Japan or worse. Sounds like you have fukushima praecox. Does not matter. Impossible to through to. It is all a game to you

    4. My motivation is to close all nukes and no more waste. If i could do anything in Japan, i would. Most Japanese do not want nukes opened there. Japan is 9000 miles away.i think u r from Canada. If a nuke blows there or waste catches fire. It will affect me. God only knows whether Brunswig is intact. So what is your real motivation and thinking Masher? How many more nuclear disasters in north america, can people survive? Sorry about your mother.

    5. Target implies a predesignated malintent. I might agree that residue,from another nuclear accident might blow west. America is not the only recipient of fukushima radionuclides.

    6. Ps I think Fukushima is worse, than what some more conventional antukers believe. I believe that there are hot areas in the pacific , the artic and north america from fukushima.

      I believe that Japan is toast. I believe that 1 or more fuel pools dried up and the contents caught fire cecause of the traumatic nature of the original explosions and the fuel pools proximities to the reactors.

      I believe that Fukushima is a thousand times or more worse than Chernobyl because a thousand times more radionuclide has gone into the environment.

      I think that the Pacific ocean is large enough, that it maybe hard to detect Fukushima radionuclide in it, the way they are doing it. I do not understand cullen and beusslers methods.

      I am upset about fukushima because of family in Japan but i do not think it is all the Japanese people's fault. We are victims of pur governments here too. I truly wish more people would wake-up to that. If Masher means america can get hit by more fallout from another accident and not that the Japanese people has america in its crosshairs, with some kind of conspiracy, i am sorry. I know entire familys in America, Japan, Ukraine destroyed by nuclear

    7. Do i think Japanese have it in for N.A. No. But i do think they (Nuke Industry)weigh the entire event KNOWING the effects are falling on other lands more than their own... Every single reactor built there has a lot of this compromised rick model thinking, Just look at the damage done to the Pacific and the amount of blame they are willing to admit to.... Same thing with all the persons sickened down wind and down range of their entire program, The limit liability issue is paramount in every word TEPCO has had to say on the matter. If you can't see this, you are not looking.

      Fact is Most reactors in Japan are built with the coastal waters being the most assumed impacted... Do they care? About as much as they care about the amount of deaths their program claimed in North America, Witch is to say Nill.

      All around i can detect the changes we are living through here in Canada, Do i care the issue is suppressed here, Sure i do, Can i get anywhere trying to show the many here some of the dangers we are dealing with today, Not in the least... This is not because the effects are in my imagination, no It's because the MEDIA omits the things that are manifest... plays down these dangers of residual contamination by just plain never mentioning them. Every forest fire for the foreseeable here in Western Canada is going to have a Fukushima component, this future is what we are dealing with, The government and media refuse to admit this, One has to ask WHY?
      What ever angle you look at this event, you will see a heap of denial of the REAL dangers we here in North America have been presented and must bear, The countries around Chernobyl are living with this same problem, This same denial... Well If you think i have some sort of angle to this commentary, Stuff it, I have lost plenty, And in going through that i have learned to stop accepting the party line, Stopped treading so as to not scuff anyone's shiny new loafers... The shit Japan nuke industry cost me Family and friends, Health and Home... So Yeah I have never been to Japan... But Japan Has visited Me and Mine. And even though i will never have standing to recourse, i also will never lose my voice over the damages they have done or my ability to call them out.

      I don't think the average Japanese has anymore understanding of the nuclear industry politics than a Canadian or American does... But the men that became filthy rich off these industries have a very accurate accounting of the issue of liability and it's avoidance... This is the PRIMARY issue i speak of here.

      If you cannot see this, Step back and reread this thread.

  7. I agree that Fukushima is worse than "reported" in mainstream representations. Radionuclides are difficult to detect in water and in flora and fauna requiring elaborate processes of dehydration and specialized detection technologies.

  8. Corp(se)orations have no allegiance to country. The agenda is to bleed the world dry of its resources while ushering in a major culling of the global peasanty.

    Fukushima radiation continuing to leak into the Pacific could be an extinction level event all by itself. But I would bet that those killing us off don't want to wait that long.

  9. The main think i want you to understand is this, The ENTIRE world is looking down the barrel of a gun, This Common Spent Fuel Storage Unit on the Fukushima Daiichi site has in it's wall's enough HIGHLY radioactive nuclear material to end MANKIND very easily...

    The fact that the powers running this small building so close to a disaster site like this have not moved this material to a place that the care and cooling of this material can be conducted SAFELY is VERY telling about MOTIVE.... with the threat of a new contamination event befalling this already precarious site... And that nuke rod swimming pool having some critical maintenance interruption is very real, Not as real for Japan as it is to the others more downwind of any fires that might happen... But knowing the dangers of shortsighted thinking and the reality of real bad things happening to lifeforms in the fallout from failures of imagination on this issue, if there is such a thing... Why is the Fuel still being held in the MOST dangerous conditions possible?
    What reasoning would you posit as to the thinking of TEPCO in NOT moving every single assembly to a new and secure storage facility that can be reliably maintained for the entire life of these dangers?

    All i know is this.... if it burns, Everyone is going to have a REAL bad few days before their permanent dirt nap.

    Something HAS to be done before it's too late.

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