Charles Perrow

Articles by Charles Perrow

10 March 2014
Asia

Five assessments of the Fukushima disaster

Charles Perrow

A survey of books on the catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, three years after the earthquake and tsunami known collectively as 3/11.

1 September 2013
AsiaEurope/Russia
Features

Governments and the nuclear power industry have a strong interest in playing down the harmful effects of radiation from atomic weapons and nuclear power plants.

1 December 2011

Fukushima and the inevitability of accidents

Charles Perrow

The March 11, 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan replicates the bullet points of most recent industrial disasters. It is outstanding in its magnitude, perhaps surpassing Chernobyl in its effects, but in most other respects, it simply indicates the risks that we run when we allow high concentrations of energy, economic power, and political power to form. Just how commonplace -- prosaic, even -- this disaster was illustrates just how risky the industrial and financial world really is.

1 April 2011

Fukushima, risk, and probability: Expect the unexpected

Charles Perrow

A probabilistic approach to risk leaves us unprepared for "infrequent catastrophes." Nuclear plants require a "possibilistic" approach that allows us to design safeguards against the worst-case scenario.

1 April 2011

Fukushima, risk, and probability: Expect the unexpected

Charles Perrow

We continue to populate our planet with technologies that have catastrophic potential. We have vulnerable concentrations of humans, economic power, and hazardous materials. The most fearful concentrations of hazardous materials are in nuclear power plants. A serious accident there could kill hundreds or even thousands of people, and contaminate large areas of land for as long as a century.