A Required Level of Enhancing Life Safety Derived from the Cost for Substituting Nuclear Energy in Japan

Eishiro Higo, Mahesh D. Pandey


Since the disastrous earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, Japanese people have discussed the question of “How safe is safe enough?” The risk of spills from nuclear power plants is one of the major issues, and the government has shut down almost all nuclear power plants to re-evaluate the risk from each one. However, even after the re-evaluation, the nuclear power plants remain closed because many people do not agree with the evaluation, and they prefer to avoid as much risk as possible without fully understanding the cost of their demands. Currently, to sustain the electric demand with thermal power plants, Japan must import more fossil fuel at great cost. This study provides uncomplicated criteria for decision makers to use when describing the need to the general public to balance risks and costs. These criteria are known as Societal Capacity to Commit Resources (SCCR), and have been developed as comprehensible cost-benefit criteria for enhancing life safety. With the criteria, the acceptable risk is calculated based on the cost of prohibiting the nuclear power plants from operating. This suggested risk could be used as a basis to form the Japanese energy policy.


Life quality index; Societal capacity to commit resources; Value of statistic life; Cost-benefit analysis; Nuclear energy

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