5. Understanding and Identifying Risk

This lecture set starts Part 3 of the course: Risk and Safety.

One of the pillars and key values of RI is risk analysis and safety engineering. But what do we mean by risk? What are ways to determine risks? How do we deal with uncertainty and the ‘unknown unknowns’? In this lecture set, we will introduce some fundamental concepts to think about risk in a systematic way.

  • First, how does one deal given an uncertain future and the inevitable ‘unknown unknowns’? That will be the focus for this week. We will start by discussing ways to assess future technologies.
  • After that, we will have a close look at the Precautionary Principle (with climate change and nanoparticles as running examples) and how we can – and should – integrate uncertainty and mitigation of risks in the design and evaluation process.
  • We will wrap up with a look at the two different ways to produce nuclear energy (open and closed cycle processes) and the different implications these have for future generations.
  • 1. Technology Assessment & Responsible Innovation
  • 2. Managing Uncertainty and Ignorance
  • 3. Case Study: Nuclear Energy
  • 4. Bonus: Frameworks for Technology (Impact) Assessment

Readings are provided in the Readings section.

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