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First, if you’ll pardon me, I’ll start with a facetious remark. I thought a few minutes about the subtitle of this conference: “How Safe is Safe Enough?” My judgmental, but professional, assessment is.3624 units. Really, all the members in this conference realize that this question, in the abstract, does not make sense. It could make sense, of course, if suitably amplified. There is no absolute standard for safety — nor should there be. In any particular policy or decision choice where safety is a concern there is undoubtedly a myriad of other concerns. What are the full panoply of costs of benefits and of risks and what are their distributional impacts? If an action is contemplated, what are other possible contending action alternatives? What do we know about present uncertainties, the disputes about these uncertainties and how might the assessments of these uncertainties change over time? What about the precedent that will be established if such and such an action is taken? “How Safe is Safe Enough?” is a short-hand, catchy-sounding phrase that is merely a pitifully weak and misleading simplification of a very complex problem.
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