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View Diary: New Fukushima Report Says Regulatory Capture to Blame (25 comments)

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  •  Denial: "It Couldn't Happen Here" (11+ / 0-)

    The diary quotes this from the Bloomberg article:

    "Outside Japan, some people will try to misuse this report to say it can’t happen here. The fact is that it can."
    That's absolutely correct, with "it" referring not to the exact same sequence of events but to general procedures, attitudes and culture affecting levels of risk.

    Whenever I read or hear "can't/couldn't happen here" claims, I am reminded of a section from James Reason's recent book The Human Contribution. It was published in 2008, before Fukushima, and is a very interesting read - somewhat less academic and less formal than some of his previous work, and with many genuine new insights with theoretical and practical relevance for those who work in safety-critical systems. (Reason is a prominent researcher and author in the field of human factors in safety-critical systems, best known for the "Swiss cheese model" of incident analysis athough his contributions go far beyond that alone.)

    The section I'm reminded of is about nuclear safety, and starts with this:

    Denial: "It Couldn't Happen Here"

    No statement from the managers of a hazardous system could chill me more than 'it couldn't happen here' - although the claim that 'we have an excellent safety culture' comes very close. Denials and boasts of this kind are the antithesis of mindfulness.

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