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Decision analysis for the siting of nuclear power plants—The relevance of multiattribute utility theory

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2 Author(s)
R. L. Keeney ; International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Vienna, Austria ; K. Nair

The necessity for improved decision making concerning the siting and licensing of major power facilities has been accelerated in the past decade by the increased environmental consciousness of the public and by the energy crisis. These problems are exceedingly complex due to their multiple objective nature, the many interest groups, the long-range time horizons, and the inherent uncertainties of the potential impacts of any decision. Along with the relatively objective economic and engineering concerns, clearly the more subjective factors involving safety, environmental, and social issues are crucial to the problem. Hence, the professional judgments and knowledge of experts in these areas should be utilized in analyses of siting decisions. Likewise, the preferences of the general public, as consumers, the utility companies, as builders and operators of power plant facilities, and environmentalists and the government must be accounted for in analyzing power plant siting and licensing issues. We advocate an approach for formally articulating the experts' judgments and the decision makers' preferences, both of which are clearly subjective, and processing these along with the more objective considerations in a logical manner to acquire the implications for decision making. The appropriateness and application of decision analysis for power plant location decisions is discussed and illustrated in this paper. Emphasis is placed on the assessment of the decision maker's preferences and tradeoffs concerning multiple objectives.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:63 ,  Issue: 3 )