Averting Catastrophe: Strategies for Regulating Risky by Joseph G. Morone;Edward J. Woodhouse PDF

Nonfiction 2

By Joseph G. Morone;Edward J. Woodhouse

Chernobyl, Bhopal, and Love Canal are symbols of the possibly catastrophic hazards that pass hand in hand with a lot glossy expertise. This quantity is a non-partisan research of the imperfect yet gradually constructing process for holding the dangers of such applied sciences as chemical substances, nuclear energy, and genetic engineering.

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Why make reactors more forgiving of errors when they were already forgiving enough? The inevitable answer is that it is impossible to be sure that reactors are forgiving enough. What if all the important causes of accidents have not been anticipated? What if the capacity of an emergency system has been overestimated? What if safety systems assumed to be independent and redundant in fact are not? What if . . ― 48 ― The Three Mile Island Accident The debates triggered by the emphasis on prevention were brought to a head by the Three Mile Island (TMI) accident.

By 1977 the scientific community seemed to have closed ranks on the issue, and it presented to Congress and the media a far more united front on the risks of rDNA research than it ever had on the risks of any other major technological policy issue. [11] To be sure, skeptics were still to be found, but many were associated with public interest groups rather than mainstream scientific organizations and were vastly outweighed in prestige and number by proponents of rDNA research. There was no equivalent in the rDNA debate to the dissenting opinion posed by the American Physical Society to the Rasmussen report's estimates of reactor safety.

Scientists at the laboratory developed new ways to ensure that public exposure would be minimized in the event of a serious release of radioactivity. They proposed that the entire reactor facility be enclosed in a gas-tight steel sphere. "[9] The AEC accepted this proposal, which thereafter became a major safety component in all civilian nuclear power plant construction. Moreover, the Knolls reactor was still to be built in a relatively unpopulated area; containment was not considered a complete substitute for remote siting.

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