Utility Ontology of a Nuclear Accident: Ontological Approach to Understanding the Conceptual Structure of a Nuclear Accident

Authors: Misa Yasumiishi*, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, Thomas E Bittner, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York
Topics: Geographic Theory, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: ontology, hazards, energy, nuclear, radiation, contamination, decontamination
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Capitol Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


While the term, ‘nuclear accident,’ immediately generates fear and uneasiness in the public mind, few understand the extensive number and categories of factors embedded in the kinds of events called ‘nuclear accident.’ When the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident occurred in 2011, several Japanese governmental agencies involved in the aftermath to deal with numerous tasks. In this paper, the basic categories of ‘nuclear accident’ that help to provide structured information and to facilitate information processing during and following an accident are hierarchically organized using ontological methods. For example, a simplified course of ‘nuclear accident’ can be explained with ontological definitions as follows: Once a nuclear accident (an instance of the category, ‘event’) occurs, a certain amount of radioactivity (a quantity of ‘energy’) will be emitted from the plant (an instance of the geographic category, ‘place’). Then in those regions (an instance of a geographic category, ‘space’) that are contaminated with a radionuclide (a type of an atom, a physical entity, that emits radiation that has the ‘disposition’ to affect ‘human life’) are identified. In those regions, the current level of radioactivity is measured. The measured data (‘information artifacts’ which are information entities) and the radioactivity’s influence on society (a collection of entities, relations, and functions) are evaluated taking radioactive decay rates (process over time) into account. The evaluation prevents the disposition from being actualized and harming human lives. This categorization will serve as a reference point to streamline responses by involved parties in the case of a nuclear accident.

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