[PLUG-TALK] Risk of earthquake based nuclear problems in USA

Russell Johnson russ at dimstar.net
Sat Mar 19 12:00:16 PDT 2011

On Mar 19, 2011, at 11:08 AM, Michael Rasmussen wrote:

> That's a good something to look at.
> When I looked at the original "alarmist" story my take away was:
>    one in 74,000 worse case probability for any area
>    meaning zero concern for an individual
>    meaning better plan on how to evacuate a few million people
>      if you are responsible for NYC because the harm level is so high
>    the closest nuke plant to PDX is Hanford, prevailing winds don't come this way
>    I'll worry about my basement flooding.
>    I'll worry about a local quake bouncing my house off the foundation
>      or for a high risk 

This has been one of the items on my personal list for a while. It seems to me that people (and governments are following suit) are trying to protect themselves from ALL risk, regardless of cost. We can't protect the entire population from all threats. There's always a point of diminishing returns, and there are some things we just shouldn't do because the cost is too much to justify the low return in added protection. 

Much of what the TSA is doing is just to make 'regular folks' feel safer.

The 'Earthquake warning system' will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to possibly save a few hundred, possibly a few thousand people. 

For the most part, Nuclear Power is safe. I do not believe we should have implemented any power plants without long term storage of spent fuel already available, but that's another issue. The Nuclear Power industry has a very good record of safety. By the standards people wish to judge this industry, commercial airlines should not be in business. The problem with both industries is that when something bad happens, it's a large number of people that are affected. 

As systems and networking professionals, we know that we could protect our systems and networks from nearly every threat out there, but doing so would be prohibitively expensive, and make the systems and networks we are trying to protect largely unusable for 'normal work'. So we make decisions based on many factors, including cost and what impact this will have on productivity. 

Just as every business in the world does, our governments should be doing cost benefit analysis on every dollar it spends. 

Russell Johnson
russ at dimstar.net

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