What do Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents teach us about Business?

Sarthak Sharma
The Skynox Blog
Published in
4 min readFeb 17, 2021

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“Why worry about something, that isn’t going to happen ?”

Photo by Michał Lis on Unsplash

Oh, it did; And it was - disastrous.

If you have watched The Chernobyl Web Series :

You will agree that it’s the worst nuclear disaster that ever took place ; It clearly could have been avoided. Then there is Fukushima - One could argue that the latter isn’t a far cry when compared to the former, yet : Comparing both the incidents gives us a lot of insight into business and proper management.

Here are a few interesting findings, I came across :

1. Never compromise with the product quality

Photo by Battlecreek Coffee Roasters on Unsplash

Though Fukushima’s nuclear plant (1971) was much older than Chernobyl’s (1977), the design of Chernobyl was poorer.

It is believed that the graphite moderator, used for cost-cutting in RBMK type reactors, could be a major reason for the disaster.

Surprisingly, in the case of Fukushima : Just 4 days before the incident, a report was submitted, questioning the plant’s ability to withstand tsunamis. Sadly, before any action could be taken to fix it, the unthinkable - happened.

In the case of Chernobyl, the Government was intimated a propos languid design by the scientists, but they were silenced by the Bureaucrats.

So, no matter what - never compromise with the quality of the product, and make sure to analyze, and improve it consistently .

2. A good manager always listens to team suggestions

Photo by Van Tay Media on Unsplash

When an improper test was being conducted in Chernobyl, the engineer told the manager about the fickle nature of the plant, and its inability to stand the test, urging them to stop; The impulsive manager gave a deaf ear, forced them to carry on and ultimately lead to the explosion.

A good manager always listens to his team and encourages them to speak up. This brings value because people working on the ground level have more insight.
If you are aware of the Toyota Production System : then you know that its core value, is to always respect team members, and listen to their suggestions : that invaluable piece of information, that can improve your process, and hence, project blue skies for your company.

3. If you don’t hide success, don’t hide failures either

Photo by the blowup on Unsplash

Two immediate trauma deaths; 28 deaths from Acute Radiation Syndrome- out of which, 134 showed symptoms; four from an industrial accident (helicopter crash); 15 from radiation-genic thyroid cancers (as of 2005); as many as 4000 to 90000 cancer-related deaths.

~ Wikipedia

In the case of Fukushima, the number of Direct Fatalities from the accident is 0. Let that sink in -

When higher management came to know about the incident, instead of sweeping it under the rug : they informed the Government Before the explosions. Following rule number 2, the government declared a national nuclear emergency and evacuated the place, way before the release of radiation.

Chernobyl failed at this miserably, the place wasn’t even evacuated days after the incident. Adults and children were roaming freely on the street - unaware of the dangerous levels of radiation that they were exposed to.

Failures make you stronger - Only if you accept them, reflect on them and keep the lessons in mind .

4. Fight till the end no matter what

Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

Something that is touching about both Chernobyl and Fukushima, is how people worked till the end, to fix the problem, despite the health risks. Whether it’s the coal miner working in Chernobyl or the older employees working the shift of younger employees, to save them from radiation. These are the people, who risked their lives, to save thousands more.

When you have a problem in front of you, all of your energy should go into resolving the matter first, rather than pointing fingers.

Because this is what matters.

Conclusion

I believe these lessons are valuable to every organization. We should learn from ours as well as other people’s mistakes. I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new. These are the values by which, our company - Skynox Tech works, and helps entrepreneurs.

Does your organization value employee input ? Or are you the lead, and have other creative ways to know what your employees are thinking ? Let us know down below, and we can start a discussion !

You can follow me on Twitter for more thought-provoking content!

Thanks for stopping by, we’ll love to see you again 😉

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Sarthak Sharma
The Skynox Blog

JavaScript Nerd👨🏻‍💻| Philosopher🧘🏻‍♂️ | Life Hacker🔧 | Health enthusiast🏋🏻‍♂️