Applications of probabilistic risk assessments: The selection of appropriate tools

Joanne Linnerooth-Bayer, Björn Wahlström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) is an important methodology for assessing the risks of complex technologies. This paper discusses the strengths and weaknesses of PRA. Its application is explored in three different settings: adversarial policy processes, regulatory/licensing procedures, and plant safety audits. It is concluded that PRA is a valuable tool for auditing safety precautions of existing or planned technologies, especially when it is carried out as an interactive process involving designers and plant personnel who are familiar with actual, everyday operations. PRA has not proven to be as well‐suited in providing absolute risk estimates in public‐policy debates concerning the acceptability of a technology, or for the licensing and regulatory procedures. The reasons for this are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-248
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1991
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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