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Business Continuity Lessons from the Japanese Earthquake

Friday’s earthquake off the coast of Japan is, first and foremost, a human tragedy.  It is a poignant reminder of how fortunate we are here in the UK where natural disasters are so rare.  However, two important points for Business Continuity, even as practised in the benign environment of Western Europe, have emerged already from this tragedy.

Firstly, it is reported that the current perilous situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant is the result of the failure of backup generators to supply power to the cooling system.  You would imagine that in such a safety-critical application the design, maintenance and testing of these backup systems would combine to make the risk of such a failure infinitesimal but somehow it has happened. 

Secondly, the earthquake and tsunami will undoubtedly impact on the shipment of goods from Japan for some time to come.  Within a few days we should see across the US and Europe which company’s supply chains are resilient enough to deal with this disruption and which aren’t.