Peter Yanev: Nuclear Reactors and Earthquake Risk Management


A recent joint meeting of the U.S.-Japan Roundtable and the Forum on Energy’s Editorial Board featured presentations and discussions on the present and future of nuclear energy. The roundtable took place Oct. 24, in Washington, D.C. Among the presenters was Peter Yanev, one of the world’s leading authorities in earthquake engineering and earthquake risk management. He’s the founder of both EQE International and EQECAT, as well as the senior consultant to the World Bank for natural hazards projects.

Yanev believe Japanese nuclear power stations are currently facing four issues that relate to earthquake: diffuse seismicity and active, capable or offshore faults near nuclear power stations. As the government considers protective structures for nuclear power stations, Yanev says it should also update its risk analyses and safety margin analyses using experience data, Bayesian updating and increased protection from tsunamis.

Looking backward, it’s clear that the destructive power of earthquakes overwhelms the installed capacity to handle them. Yanev says the solution is for industry, government and scientists to work together in order to build risk models and safety margins based on experience instead of data based on theory.

Below is Yanev’s presentation: