Post-Fukushima Controversy on SPEEDI System: Contested Imaginary of Real-Time Simulation Technology for Emergency Radiation Protection

Chapter

Abstract

When the Fukushima nuclear accident happened in 2011, SPEEDI, a real-time simulation system for radiation protection developed and implemented over 30 years, failed its expected mission. Its output was never released to help evacuation in the acute phase of the disaster. This failure has been problematized as a case of unjustified governmental secrecy. However, the authors articulate it as an issue centering on the nature of computer simulation technology, relevant expertise, and public imaginary for technology calling for a more “disaster-proof” society. These factors are tightly linked at the interface of science, technology, and society, and have resulted in an unsettled discord over the practical utility of SPEEDI. Framed around the notion of sociotechnical resilience, we illustrate how contested imaginaries have kept this system on the failed trajectory of Japanese nuclear disaster preparedness policy.

Keywords

SPEEDI Real-time simulation Scientific prediction Fukushima nuclear accident Certainty zigzag 

Notes

Acknowledgment

Part of this chapter was supported by the “Social Scientific Research Support Program” of Tokai Village, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. Also, it was partly supported by JSPS Kakenhi 17K18139 “Critical Analysis of Dysfunction of Real-time Disaster Damage Simulation System: “SPEEDI” and Other Cases.” The authors would like to extend their sincere gratitude for these public funding support for academic research. The authors greatly appreciate the help of Rin Watanabe, a graduate student at the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Management, the University of Tokyo, as a research assistant for the JSPS Kakenhi project.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central Research Institute of Electric Power IndustryTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Tokyo Denki UniversityTokyoJapan

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