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Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Probabilistic Safety Assessment & Management (PSAM)

Editor
Michael G. Stamatelatos
Michael G. Stamatelatos
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Harold S. Blackman
Harold S. Blackman
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ISBN-10:
0791802442
No. of Pages:
2576
Publisher:
ASME Press
Publication date:
2006

The precautionary principle is a highly controversial principle yet it lacks a single definition. The various interpretations of the principle confuse the debate on its merits. An overview is presented of the various interpretations of the precautionary principle. A broad distinction can be made between substantive interpretations, prescribing courses of action; and procedural interpretations, prescribing procedures to come to appropriate courses of action. The main criticisms of the precautionary principle appear related to the chosen interpretation of precaution. The interpretation of precaution by the European Commission is discussed and compared to the principles underlying industrial safety regulation in the Netherlands. Though the precautionary principle is sometimes mentioned by environmentalists as an alternative to the current practice of quantitative risk assessment and risk evaluation, current practice seems fully consistent with the precautionary approach advocated by the EC.

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