Worst Cases: Terror and Catastrophe in the Popular Imagination
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Panic was probably not the cause of any of the deaths, ft is more accurate to say that the building layout was inadequate for emergencies.
The second case, also researched by Johnson, happened in December at the Riverfront Coliseum as it was then called m Cincinnati, where 11 people were killed at a rock concert by The Who. The concertgoers were killed in a crush that was popularly perceived as a panic.
The reality was far different. Approximately 8.
Fukushima, risk, and probability: Expect the unexpected
After the doors opened, about 25 people fell. Witnesses say there was little panic. In fact, people tried to protect those who had fallen by creating a human cordon around them. But the push of the people behind was too strong. The crowd trampled the 25 people out of ignorance rather than panic.
Users would be safe as long as they arrived in anticipated numbers and behaved in ways designers had anticipated. Consider, also, the tragic flight of American Airlines As the pilots approached , they couldn't line the plane up with the runway and by the time they righted the craft they were coming in too fast and too hard. Seconds after the plane touched down, it started sliding and didn't stop until after lights at the end of the runway tore it open.
The plane burst into flames, and 11 of the aboard were killed. Most survivors who were asked about panic said there was none. Instead there were stores of people helping their spouses, flight attendants helping passengers, and strangers saving each other's lives. One fellow said that after the plane came to rest "panic set in. Having discovered the back exit blocked, he found a hole in the fuselage.
Then, "he and several men. Another passenger said that people panicked somewhat. But in his telling, too, people worked together to push an exit door open. He himself helped pick up a row of seats that had fallen atop a woman. As "smoke completely filled the cabin from floor to ceiling. The same message rises from the rubble of the World Trade Center. Television showed images of people running away from the falling towers, apparently panic-stricken. But surely no one would describe their flight as evincing "excessive fear" or" injudicious effort.
More common are stories such as the one from an information architect whose subway was arriving underneath the Trade Center just as the first plane crashed. He found himself on the north side of the complex, toward the Hudson River; "I'm looking around and studying the people watching. I would say that 95 percent are completely calm. A few are grieving heavily and a few are running , but the rest were very calm. No shoving and no panic.
That is in large measure because people did not become hysterical but instead created a successful evacuation. Absent a full survey of disasters, we do not have statistical evidence that chaotic panic is rare, but consider the views of E. He recently concluded in correspondence to me that "I no longer believe the term 'panic" should be treated as a social science concept.
Trying to see the future | Science | The Guardian
It is a label taken from popular discourse During the whole history of [our] research involving nearly different field studies, I would be hard pressed to cite It also contradicts the idea that people are naturally self-interested. If people are so self-regarding, why do they act altruistically when their very lives are at stake? One answer is that people sometimes act irrationally by going against what is in their best interests. From this view, the men on American Airlines Flight were not exercising sound judgment when they helped free the woman whose legs were pinned.
They could have used the time to save themselves. If cases like this were rare, it might be reasonable to call such behavior irrational. But they're not rare, and there is a better explanation of them than irrationality. When the World Trade Center started to burn, the standards of civility that people carried around with them every day did not suddenly dissipate. Instead, they relied on a history of successful operation as an assurance of future safety. As a result, they ignored or underestimated a number of major risks that have since doomed the plant:.
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Large earthquakes. There was a 5. Even relatively small earthquakes can be devastating for nuclear plants: a 6. The March 11 earthquake, with a 9. It was the first quake to cause a tsunami that seriously flooded a nuclear power plant. But a proper risk analysis will consider infrequent events, and large quakes are hardly rare in the Pacific Ocean. Geologists predict increased probability for a major earthquake in the near future.
Large tsunamis. There was ample evidence that an earthquake in the Fukushima area could cause a tsunami — a word given to the world by the Japanese. Those guidelines , updated in January of this year, merely recommend that utilities take the danger into account. No radiological hazard would be likely. Despite the lack of government guidance, the initial plant designs for Fukushima Daiichi did take tsunamis into account.
But engineers expected a maximum wave height of The cliff defense proved to be totally inadequate; the facility received a wave estimated to be between 30 and 46 feet in height.
Worst Cases: Terror and Catastrophe in the Popular Imagination
Power outages. Even if they were able to survive the twin disaster of an unprecedented earthquake and a huge tsunami, the six Daiichi plants had a serious design failure. The emergency power source — diesel generators to be used if offsite power failed — were reportedly in a basement vulnerable to flooding, though their location has not been confirmed.
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In any case, it is likely that their diesel fuel supply was compromised. Flooding should not have come as a surprise. Most of the area subject to earthquakes lies beneath the ocean, and underwater earthquakes can be expected to cause tsunamis that are capable of flooding buildings on the shore.
Diesel generators can be unreliable, and should not be in areas subject to flooding. If they must be, they and their fuel supply should be protected from floods, and they should be accessible in an emergency. It would not be expensive to protect this first line of defense in case of power loss. Flooding also disabled the wiring for the electrical power supply. This has made it very difficult to restore offsite power once a new transmission line was installed. The east and west parts of the island use different voltages, and the single conversion facility does not have the capacity to draw much from the western half to compensate for the huge power losses in the eastern half.
Containment failure. The boiling water reactor BWR design at Fukushima, called Mark 1, has another flaw in addition to its unprotected emergency power source. The Mark 1 design was the subject of much controversy when it was first developed in the s by GE. Compared with pressurized water reactors PWRs , the BWR was cheaper and easier to build because of its thinner and smaller containment shell over the reactor vessel. GE disputes these criticisms. It is currently used in 23 US plants.
AT: Panic - Inherency: Status Quo Solves Asteroid Impacts 2
It is true, as is often now said, that the reactors in the six plants at the Fukushima Daiichi facility stood up remarkably well to an enormous earthquake — 15 times stronger than anticipated by designers. There were no immediate meltdowns in the three plants that were in full operation, nor massive radioactive releases from the rods in the six spent-fuel cooling pools and one huge storage pool in the facility. But as of April 1, three weeks after the accident, the containment structure at three of the plants appears to have failed, and there are serious radiological leaks.
The accident has also revealed another vulnerability in the design for the Fukushima plant: The storage pools for spent fuel rods were placed on the fourth floor of the reactor building so that rods could be easily transported from the reactors to the pools. But this design makes the storage pools unapproachable if radiation levels are high, and leaves the pools without independent power sources to keep the rods from overheating.
The pools are more lethal than the reactor cores, because they contain a greater volume of uranium. Multiple reactors. Fukushima Daiichi has six reactors, and its owners planned to build two more at the same location. Even if only one reactor had a serious failure, radiation levels might have climbed too high to safely monitor the other reactors at the facility. Had the utility been required to disperse its plants — at some small economic penalty — earthquake and tsunami risks, and the risk of collateral damage to adjacent plants from an industrial accident, would be greatly reduced.
Ignored warnings. The Japanese nuclear industry has a history of falsifying data and hiding accidents. An engineer acknowledged that he falsified documents when casting one containment vessel for the Fukushima complex, and received a large bonus for saving the company the expense of making a new one.