In the context of future proofing the vulnerable coastlines of Japan, the conundrum of controlled risk puts before us a choice:

A choice to control risk by constructing a seemingly reliable type of infrastructure such as a high enough wall which might serve a purpose of redirecting potentially deadly swells of ocean. Main questions that arise and are probably unanswerable: how high for any type of protection and where to is the water redirected?

New York Times of March 13th 2011: Seawalls Offered Little Protection Against Tsunami’s Crushing Waves

Considering the risk of failure in concrete terms I looked at what happened in Fukushima on the day of the Tsunami. What I pieced together through a few articles showed that the design of the plant’s emergency back up power generator actually caused the crucial cooling system to fail in reactors 1-4. Reactors 5 and 6 were designed at a later stage and there the back up generators were inside the reinforced reactor building.


Even though the events in Fukushima are not complex at all, they are clearly caused by a lack of integration of risk, it becomes evident that control might be a dangerous illusion.