Principles for the formulation of policy for the Electricity System

Sizewell B nuclear plant

Reliable studies

Uncertainty, Risk, Reliability

Risk is defined as the combination of likelihood of occurrence and severity of the consequences of an adverse event.  Uncertainty is the inverse of likelihood and is therefore a basic feature in risk analysis.
Reliable information has a degree of uncertainty associated with it which is deemed to be as low as practical in the context. Those involved need to understand the data, its provenance and shortcomings and the context of its final output.
It is important to note that 'reliable' does not imply that uncertainty has been eliminated. Predictive models are always approximations of future realities.

Option analysis

An option analysis is a fundamental strategy used when seeking to create a new system or make modifications to an existing system. It normally lies at the heart of engineering studies.

Typical features of an option analysis are:

Figure 1 is a diagram of the process.

Typical structure of an option analysis


Strategies that may be used in the course of reliable studies include:

System monitoring

Despite all efforts to reduce the risk of planning decisions being inappropriate, residual risk should be expected leading to possible unsatisfactory outcomes.  Continuous monitoring of the system should be put in place to (a) seek to identify and correct unsatisfactory features of the system and (b) to inform later planning exercises.

Independence of those carrying out the studies

It is important that the process for a reliable study is contolled by people who are free to take an independent stance i.e. are not constrained by preconceived requirements about what the outcomes should be.

European legislation

It is noted that European legislation requires those proposing projects related to environmental issues to carry out studies that are 'comprehensive and reliable'..