Publications in Scientific Journals:
"Simulation, Epistemic Opacity, and `Envirotechnical IgnoranceŽin Nuclear Crisis";
Minds and Machines,
The Fukushima nuclear accident from 2011 provided an occasion for the public display of radiation maps (or dose projections) generated using decision-support systems for nuclear emergency management. Such systems rely on computer models for simulating the atmospheric dispersion of radioactive materials and estimating potential doses in the event of a radioactive release from a nuclear reactor. In Germany, as in Japan, such systems are part of the national emergency response apparatus and, in case of accidents, they can be used by emergency task forces for planning radioprotection countermeasures. In this context, the paper addresses the epistemology of dose projections by critically analyzing some of the sources of epistemic opacity and non-knowledge (or ignorance) affecting them, and the different methods and practices used by German radioprotection experts to improve their trustworthiness and reliability. It will be argued that dose projections are part of an entire radioprotection regime or assemblage built around the belief that the effects of nuclear accidents can be effectively mitigated thanks to the simulation technologies underlying different protocols and practices of nuclear preparedness. And, as the Fukushima experience showed, some of these expectations will not be met in real emergencies due to the inherent uncertainties entailed by the use of dose projections when planning protective countermeasures.
Simulation, Decision support, Nuclear accident, Fukushima, Epistemic opacity, Non-knowledge, Ignorance
"Official" electronic version of the publication (accessed through its Digital Object Identifier - DOI)
Electronic version of the publication:
Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.