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Response to PamW (Reply #27)

Fri Dec 27, 2013, 04:46 PM

28. "MIT assessors were guilty of a massive ‘overconfidence’ bias toward nuclear safety"

Even universities erroneously use subjective probabilities (iii), not frequencies (ii), to assess nuclear-core-melt likelihood, particularly when pro-nuclear-government agencies fund their studies. For instance, although the classic, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)-authored, government-funded, reactor-safety study had frequency data for various nuclear accidents that already had occurred after decades of US-operating experience, it did not use them; instead the MIT authors used subjective, pro-nuclear assumptions and conjectures about these accident probabilities (Rasmussen, 1975). When independent, university mathematicians compared US nuclear-accident-frequency data, reported from operating experience, with MIT guesses (iii), they discovered that all ‘guesses’ were far too low, by several orders of magnitude. None of the nuclear-accident-frequency data, based on reactor-operating experience, was within the theoretical, 90% confidence interval of the MIT ‘guesses.’Yet there is only a subjective probability of 10% that any of these true (frequency-based) probability values (for different types of reactor accidents) should fall outside this 90% interval. The conclusion? University mathematicians said that MIT assessors were guilty of a massive ‘overconfidence’ bias toward nuclear safety, a typical flaw in most industry-government-funded, nuclear-risk analyses (Cooke, 1982).


Explain these findings then.

And while you're at it, you can explain the method related failures of cost predictions and claims of reactor performance.

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