Keywords: probabilistic risk assessment, PRA, risk analysis, perceived risks, risk bias, risk perception, nuclear power, nuclear energy
Quantifying the perceived risks associated with nuclear energy issues
A mathematical model is presented for quantifying and assessing perceived risks in an empirical manner. The analytical model provides for the identification and assignment of any number of quantifiable risk perception factors that can be incorporated within standard risk methodology. The set of risk perception factors used to demonstrate the model are those that have been identified by social and behavioural scientists as principal factors influencing people in their perception of risks associated with major technical issues. These same risk factors are commonly associated with nuclear energy issues. A rational means is proposed for determining and quantifying these risk factors for a given application. The model should contribute to improved understanding of the basis and logic of public risk perception and provide practical and effective means for addressing perceived risks when they arise over important technical issues and projects.