Explosive risks

During the course of the MBA I have at times been picked up for my habit of calculating the risks before doing something – it can make me seem more negative than someone is happy to say yes and then figure out ways to avoid any risks they percieve.

Its also interesting how the ‘decision trees’ we were taught during the Strategic Decision Science course, place such high weightings on the probability of something happening – rather than the outcome.

As Japan struggles to contend with the horrendous situation following the strongest earthquake it has experienced in recorded memory, it is also having to contend with a potential major nuclear disaster with not 1 but 3 nuclear reactors having been seriously damaged by the earthquake. With cooling systems having failed in 3 of the reactors there is a ‘significant’ threat of nuclear meltdown. I may be over-egging the situation, but despite the nuclear containment cores still believed to be safe, I am desperately concerned about the situation at Fukushima.

While I have been a staunch supporter of nuclear power over the years, this incident has rocked my belief that such powerful forces could be controlled and kept safe. In an ideal world, the safety systems would have kicked in and it is a testament to the robustness of the reactors’ design that a meltdown hasn’t occurred – something for which I am exceedingly thankful.

The situation does bring me back to the concept of risk and my belief that no matter how unlikely the worst case scenario might be, it has to be planned for and factored in to any decision – just because a magnitude 8.9 earthquake may be incredibly unlikely to occur, the probability of it happening was obviously greater than initially calculated.

My thought’s go out to all those who have lost friends and family and I wish the country a speedy and safe recovery.

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