Nuclear Energy Leads to Black Swans
In early March Russia seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility in Southeastern Ukraine. It is the largest in Europe and among the ten largest in the world. During an early morning battle for control of the facility, a fire broke out in the plant. It did not cause a radiation leak or do serious damage to the plant’s operation. Nonetheless, it raised concerns throughout the international community. Barbara Woodward, Britain’s Ambassador to the UN said it was “the first time a state has attacked a fueled and functioning nuclear power plant.” Rafael M. Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, emphasized, “There is no normalcy to the situation when there are military forces in charge of the site.”
Nuclear power regularly faces unexpected circumstances. Investors refer to unlikely, but catastrophic events as black swans. Everyone knows it can happen, but nobody takes the possibility seriously. It’s simply too unlikely. Unfortunately, nuclear energy Leads to black swans. Serhii Plokhy names six black swans due to nuclear science. Four of them involved nuclear power, while the other two involved weapon tests gone wrong. After every event scientists and engineers learn new ways to avoid a similar outcome. However, it’s simply not possible to foresee and prevent every negative outcome.
Moreover, past nuclear mistakes simply do not go away. As Russian troops departed from northwest Ukraine, their vehicles “stirred up radiation dust” near the defunct nuclear site in Chernobyl. The name Chernobyl already strikes fear into anyone familiar with past nuclear catastrophes. It’s terrifying how past mistakes involving atomic energy do not disappear. They stay with us for decades. Indeed, they compound complicated situations where uncertainty is the rule rather than the exception.