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Second, policies, unlike individual decisions, need t o gain a consensus in order to be viable. Finally, public choices are not 46 J. Lathrop and J. Linnerooth made by only one person. A consensus within andlor beyond an organization can be reached only with convincing and institutionally appropriate arguments. Because of this need on the part of an interested party, whether a citizens’ group or a licensing agency, t o justify its stand on the siting issue, risk assessments showing the plant t o be safe or not safe are especially useful.

54 J . Lathrop and J. Linnerooth 2 . Scope The analysts for each assessment adopted widely varying assumptions, problem scopes, which explain many of the fundamental differences in the results and effects of the assessments. The SAI report was quite thorough, but used primarily in-house computer models for the important calculations concerning ship accidents and flammable cloud travel distances. While those models were impressive, by neglecting to acknowledge the existence of experts and models with conflicting results, the SAI report over-stated the confidence with which their results should be accepted.

Economic Inquiry, 17, 52-74. , 1980. Comment on societal risk. Science, 208, 372-375. Savage, L. , 1954. The Foundations of Statistics. New York: Wiley. L. , B. Fischhoff, and S. Lichtenstein, 1977. Risk assessment: Basic issues. In: R. W . ), Managing Technological Hazards: Research Needs and Opportunities. Boulder, Colorado: Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado. , 1969. Social benefits versus technological risk. Science, 165, 1232-1238. von Neumann J . and 0. Morgenstern, 1947.

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