March 22, 2011

A Real Knee-Jerk Nuclear Disaster

Richard Epstein, Defining Ideas

AP Photo

There is nothing like an undeniable catastrophe to focus attention on the proper way to respond to risk—especially that most elusive form of risk, which involves low frequency and high severity occurrences. Never has that been truer than with the one-two punch that just hit Japan—a huge earthquake (8.9 on the Richter scale) followed by a tsunami of equally stupendous proportions. Right in the line of fire was the 1971 Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which has teetered on the brink of a meltdown for over a week now. In the United States, the visceral response has been to boost the always strong, if sometimes latent, categorical opposition to nuclear power.

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TAGGED: Nuclear Energy, Japan

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