Switzerland: misperception of nuclear risk

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Published on 11/12/2021

Misperception of risk ⚠️x🎲 !

The Swiss Federal Office of Public Protection (OFPP) 🇨🇭 produced this risk diagram at the end of 2020, positioning events according to their probability of occurrence and their expected damage (here in financial cost). The more an event is located in the upper right, the higher the risk it represents (danger x probability).

“The biggest risk is the electricity shortage”

Everyone will notice that, in general, the population has an erroneous representation of the probability, the level of danger, and therefore the risk associated with these events (try having these items placed blindly by people around you and compare with the results of this study).

What is also notable is that in the case of energy uses supporting our modern civilization and global warming, these items are not independent.

80% of the energy used in the world comes from fossil fuels, in France two thirds of the final energy. The major international organizations – IEA, UN, OECD – agree on the fact that not resorting to nuclear power considerably increases the risk of not succeeding in phasing out fossil fuels, even by fully resorting to all the other levers (renewables, efficiency , sobriety), and that the lack of controllable capacities increases the risk of electrical system failure.

Without nuclear power to replace controllable coal, fuel oil and gas capacities, and in the absence of storage facilities on the required scale, the probability of blackouts and power shortages will increase (rise in the graph), and the risk that they represent – ​​already very important – to increase significantly.

Without nuclear power, and therefore by conserving more coal, more gas, for longer, global warming is likely to be more intense and faster, leading to an increased probability of extreme climatic events – heat waves, droughts, fires , floods, hail, storms – (rise in the graph), and participating in extending their potential geographical occurrence (moving to the right for the European territory).

This global vision of the risks is an essential element of understanding in the democratic debate on energy issues on a European scale.