Maya Willis-Fry (Weston College) reflects on ‘Cascading Risks’ talk
Maya Willis-Fry (Weston College) reports:
Audience assemble at the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, for Dr. Goda’s stimulating talk.
Dr Katsu Goda gave an insightful lecture at the University of Bristol on Tuesday 11th November. Members of the audience were typically A-Level geography students from schools all around Bristol and North Somerset. The content of the lecture was based around earthquakes and cascading risks in Japan and the UK. He then went on to compare the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crisis. The lecture was informative, enjoyable and intellectually stimulating.
Shaking damage during the Tohuku 2011 event
Dr Goda examined how casualties can be reduced when a population is faced with a natural disaster. The first strategy discussed was tsunami protection e.g. the Fudai wall in Japan which was 15.4m high. Secondly, he mentioned how protection structures are often rebuilt after a disaster, but with a higher capacity aiming for a better result. Thirdly, he mentioned the relocation of a town to a higher ground for protection, although this is not often popular with local residents. Then, finally, he discussed a combination of horizontal and vertical evacuation strategies. For example, this could entail coloured zones determined by geographical location. This could mean that the lowest lying areas would possibly be air lifted, although planning teams do need to consider less mobile members of the population.
The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant crisis was created by a boiling reactor plant which generated heat by nuclear fission. Dr Goda explained in great detail despite the time limit how the power supply was lost and no cool water could be generated and this resulted in a meltdown.
The lecture taught me a lot about Japan and disasters that I had never considered before. I was surprised at the amount of uncertainty scientists have to face when calculating risk and management schemes. Although I don’t fully understand all of the maths and physics involved in helping manage these disasters, I now have a better understanding of earthquakes and cascading risks from this informative lecture.
Dr. Katsu Goda (University of Bristol) discusses the complex web of risks associated with the Tohuku 2011 earthquake