Examples of Risk Information Concealment Practice [chapter]

Dmitry Chernov, Didier Sornette
<span title="">2016</span> <i title="Springer International Publishing"> Man-made Catastrophes and Risk Information Concealment </i> &nbsp;
Vajont dam was an important industrial project for post-war Italy. A general plan was proposed for the erection of seven dams in Piave valley, but from the beginning of the Vajont dam development, the project met with fierce resistance from local communities protesting against the forced sale of land to Società Adriatica di Elettricità (SADE) to construct the highest arch dam in the world. SADE, a private electricity company in North-Eastern Italy, had support from Democrazia Cristiana (the
more &raquo; ... ian Christian democratic political party, which promoted pro-American and pro-capitalist ideology and was in power at the time). Opposition from locals in villages around the Vajont reservoir was suppressed by the police. After this, the Italian Communist Party, the main opponent of Democrazia Cristiana, stayed on the side of local residents and supported their struggle against SADE and the government during the construction of the dam. 2 Engineers and geologists focused on the permeability of the Vajont dam foundation, but did not study carefully the geology and the stability of the slopes surrounding the upstream reservoir of the dam, which consisted of soft materials like sand, limestone and clay. 3 The geological instability of the surrounding mountains was well known among local residents 4 : Mt. Toc had many nicknames like "crazy", "rotten", "loose" or "walking mountain" among local people due to its propensity for huge unexpected landslides. 5,6 The construction of the dam was launched in January 1957 with the goal of completing it by 1959 (construction started without government approval, nor serious geological research of the surrounding mountains). Moreover, to meet the need of Italian industry for electricity and maximize the profitability of the project, SADE proposed to increase the height of the dam up to 722.5 m, and triple the volume of the reservoir. In June 1957, government approval was obtained for construction without a geological study of the consequences of expanding the reservoir. In March 1959 in the nearby Pontesei dam reservoir (owned by SADE), a landslide of 10 million m 3 of rock occurred (equivalent of cube with a 220 m side), resulting in the death of one worker, killed by a 20-m wave which overtopped the dam and destroyed a nearby bridge. Moreover, clefts were discovered during mountain road constructions around the Vajont reservoir. Protests from local residents against SADE broke out again. In May 1959, l'Unità (the official newspaper of the Italian Communist Party) conjectured that the Pontesei dam accident could 2 Rose Marco Delle, Decision-making errors and socio-political disputes over the Vajont dam disaster, Disaster 11 7 Rose Marco Delle, Decision-making errors and socio-political disputes over the Vajont dam disaster, Disaster
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