Signaled and silenced aspects of nuclear safety: A critical evaluation of international nuclear safety thinking

Marja Ylönen, Tapio Litmanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This article provides a critical analysis of safety-related assumptions and practices in international nuclear safety regulation, together with an overview of those aspects of safety that have been either signaled or silenced. The data consist of safety reports from the IAEA, OECD NEA and Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA), as well as from the national stress tests reports of the United Kingdom and Finland. For theoretical tools, we draw on the concept of a dominant co-operative scheme, and on some parts of Luhmann's Theory of Social Systems. The method is content analysis. We argue that the prevailing thoughts on safety by the international nuclear safety organizations, which are based on the field of engineering sciences' understanding of safety, affected what was learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and the way the stress tests were conducted. Moreover, the learning, even though it is still ongoing, has been constrained by some emphasized aspects of safety, which tend to ignore other relevant aspects of safety. Therefore, the stress tests and teachings from Fukushima failed to provide as many improvements in nuclear safety as could have been possible if a broader analysis of the Fukushima nuclear accident was used.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-43
JournalRisk, Hazards and Crisis in Public Policy
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fingerprint

accident
evaluation
engineering science
social system
OECD
Finland
content analysis
regulation
Teaching
learning

Keywords

  • Fukushima
  • nuclear safety
  • stress tests
  • safety thinking
  • IAEA

Cite this

@article{94eaf7aa140c48608273a92c8f4aff96,
title = "Signaled and silenced aspects of nuclear safety: A critical evaluation of international nuclear safety thinking",
abstract = "This article provides a critical analysis of safety-related assumptions and practices in international nuclear safety regulation, together with an overview of those aspects of safety that have been either signaled or silenced. The data consist of safety reports from the IAEA, OECD NEA and Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA), as well as from the national stress tests reports of the United Kingdom and Finland. For theoretical tools, we draw on the concept of a dominant co-operative scheme, and on some parts of Luhmann's Theory of Social Systems. The method is content analysis. We argue that the prevailing thoughts on safety by the international nuclear safety organizations, which are based on the field of engineering sciences' understanding of safety, affected what was learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and the way the stress tests were conducted. Moreover, the learning, even though it is still ongoing, has been constrained by some emphasized aspects of safety, which tend to ignore other relevant aspects of safety. Therefore, the stress tests and teachings from Fukushima failed to provide as many improvements in nuclear safety as could have been possible if a broader analysis of the Fukushima nuclear accident was used.",
keywords = "Fukushima, nuclear safety, stress tests, safety thinking, IAEA",
author = "Marja Yl{\"o}nen and Tapio Litmanen",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.1002/rhc3.12072",
language = "English",
volume = "6",
pages = "22--43",
journal = "Risk, Hazards and Crisis in Public Policy",
issn = "1944-4079",
publisher = "Wiley",
number = "1",

}

Signaled and silenced aspects of nuclear safety : A critical evaluation of international nuclear safety thinking. / Ylönen, Marja; Litmanen, Tapio.

In: Risk, Hazards and Crisis in Public Policy, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2015, p. 22-43.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Signaled and silenced aspects of nuclear safety

T2 - A critical evaluation of international nuclear safety thinking

AU - Ylönen, Marja

AU - Litmanen, Tapio

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - This article provides a critical analysis of safety-related assumptions and practices in international nuclear safety regulation, together with an overview of those aspects of safety that have been either signaled or silenced. The data consist of safety reports from the IAEA, OECD NEA and Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA), as well as from the national stress tests reports of the United Kingdom and Finland. For theoretical tools, we draw on the concept of a dominant co-operative scheme, and on some parts of Luhmann's Theory of Social Systems. The method is content analysis. We argue that the prevailing thoughts on safety by the international nuclear safety organizations, which are based on the field of engineering sciences' understanding of safety, affected what was learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and the way the stress tests were conducted. Moreover, the learning, even though it is still ongoing, has been constrained by some emphasized aspects of safety, which tend to ignore other relevant aspects of safety. Therefore, the stress tests and teachings from Fukushima failed to provide as many improvements in nuclear safety as could have been possible if a broader analysis of the Fukushima nuclear accident was used.

AB - This article provides a critical analysis of safety-related assumptions and practices in international nuclear safety regulation, together with an overview of those aspects of safety that have been either signaled or silenced. The data consist of safety reports from the IAEA, OECD NEA and Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA), as well as from the national stress tests reports of the United Kingdom and Finland. For theoretical tools, we draw on the concept of a dominant co-operative scheme, and on some parts of Luhmann's Theory of Social Systems. The method is content analysis. We argue that the prevailing thoughts on safety by the international nuclear safety organizations, which are based on the field of engineering sciences' understanding of safety, affected what was learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and the way the stress tests were conducted. Moreover, the learning, even though it is still ongoing, has been constrained by some emphasized aspects of safety, which tend to ignore other relevant aspects of safety. Therefore, the stress tests and teachings from Fukushima failed to provide as many improvements in nuclear safety as could have been possible if a broader analysis of the Fukushima nuclear accident was used.

KW - Fukushima

KW - nuclear safety

KW - stress tests

KW - safety thinking

KW - IAEA

U2 - 10.1002/rhc3.12072

DO - 10.1002/rhc3.12072

M3 - Article

VL - 6

SP - 22

EP - 43

JO - Risk, Hazards and Crisis in Public Policy

JF - Risk, Hazards and Crisis in Public Policy

SN - 1944-4079

IS - 1

ER -