Nuclear Safety Chapeaux

, former director, Nuclear Safety Project | July 28, 2015, 6:00 am EDT
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Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit #60

Hard hats are ubiquitous within nuclear power plants and construction sites. They protect the heads of the wears from failing objects and from bumps against low overhead piping and such.


(Source: Scott Rippon on flickr)

More robust headgear adorns the noggins of football players, motorcyclists, parachutists, and this crash test dummy. (One might ask why place a helmet on the head of a crash test dummy. The obvious answer, of course, is that the helmet would easily fall off its foot.)


( Source: U.S. Army RDECOM on flickr)

A video posted by the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility (A4NR) earlier in 2015 on YouTube shows another use of chapeaux for nuclear power plant safety. The 143-second video illustrates the nuclear safety chapeaux quicker and better than I could in writing, so I won’t even attempt to do so.

Bottom Line

Responsible, mature adults devised this use of the safety chapeaux to try to make the point that the same expert can view earthquake hazards from the perspective of the nuclear plant’s owner and also from the perspective of the “independent” evaluato, simply by keeping track of which role he or she was playing when. Yet the point they probably made to most viewers with the chapeaux is that while one head may wear different hats at different times, it’s harder for the mind inside it to swap out biases and loyalties so readily.

It makes me wonder what options they considered and rejected before selecting the chapeaux as the best option.


The UCS Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit (NEAT) is a series of post intended to help citizens understand nuclear technology and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s processes for overseeing nuclear plant safety.

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  • n_coast

    Your post reminds me of a recent TEPCO video showing the scorpion type robotic vehicle and the technicians who will operate their controls. The operators are shown wearing hard hats as they sit at computer terminals in the reactor control room.

  • …your video reminds me of this one with the hysterical Helen Caldicott explaining to George Monbiot that because she practiced pediatrics for a year, she is qualified to assess nuclear energy safety. We can all pick uncomplimentary videos or photos to denigrate our opposition. One problem with preaching to the choir is the belief reinforcement feedback loop that results.