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Risk Management - Essay Example

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Table of Contents Introduction ……………….………………………………………. 2 Step One – Risk Identification ……….……………………………. 3 Step Two – Risk Measurement …………………….…………………
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Risk Management
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Download file to see previous pages ...... 6 Step Seven – Policies …………………………………………………7 Conclusion ……………………..…………………………….……..... 7 References …………………………………………………………… 9 The Fukushima Disaster: Lessons in Risk Management I. Introduction The Fukushima disaster is probably one of the most terrifying nuclear disasters in recent memory. Before March 2011, it was almost unimaginable for Japan to be on the threshold of a potential nuclear disaster. The nuclear disaster was, in fact, the result of another—equally horrific—disaster, the infamous tsunami that killed ‘tens of thousands of people’ (McCoy 2011). The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2011) found that around 25,000 people were dead or missing as a result of the tsunami disaster, which began on 11 March, 2011, 14:46, Japan standard time. Figure 1. Nuclear Plants in Japan, including Fukushima Source: U.S. NRC 2011, p. 7 Ronald McCoy is one of the first researchers to document the Fukushima disaster. According to McCoy (2011), Japan experienced several disasters in March 2011, beginning with the ‘record-breaking’ earthquake that occurred, measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale (p. 41). The earthquake and aftershocks that took place northeast of Honshu Island triggered a ten-metre tsunami that killed more than ten thousand people. ...
According to McCoy, when the earthquake occurred, the six nuclear plants at Fukushima, which were owned by Tokyo Elect Power, were shut down automatically. The earthquakes ‘knocked-oun the power grids, forcing operators to fall back on diesel generators’ (McCoy 2011, p. 4X). However, the plants still needed access to power to ensure that the coolants, which are essential for cooling the ‘hot reactor cores of the radioactive uranium and plutonium power rods’, remained flowing. However, ‘the tsunamis swept in, knocked out the generators and cut off power’ (McCoy 2011, p. 41). As a result, four out of the six plants immediately overheated. Finally, an ‘explosion damaged fuel rods and the integrity of the primary containment structure’ and, as a result, radiation was released (p. 41). This essay analyses the risks involved using the 7-steps risk management cycle, which is described in the diagram below. II. Risk Identification (Step 1) Ionising radiations from nuclear power plants ‘can damage DNA, causing cancer and inherited mutations’ (McCoy 2011, p. 41). The risk of mutation and cancer is proportional to exposure to radiation (p. 42). In addition, ‘radiation [can] kill and injure thousands’ and ‘contaminate and render uninhabitable large tracts of land’ (p. 42). Unfortunately, the Fukushima nuclear accident happened because the plant had been designed on the basis of incorrect assumptions about the risks of the region (McCoy 2011, p. 42), in particular, that earthquakes greater than 7.9 on the Richter scale, and tsunamis higher than 6.7 metres were improbable. According to Takashi Shoji (2011, Slide 10), ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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