The initial causes of serious accidents at nuclear power plants have not so far been flaws in the advanced-technology portion of the plants. Rather, the initial causes have been attributed to human error, as when a worker at the Browns Mills reactor in the United States dropped a candle and started a fire, or to flaws in the plumbing, exemplified in a recent incident in Japan. Such everyday events cannot be thought unlikely to occur over the long run.
Which of the following is most strongly supported by the statements above?
(A) Now that nuclear power generation has become a part of everyday life, an ever-increasing yearly incidence of serious accidents at plants can be expected.
(B) If nuclear power plants continue in operation, a serious accident at such a plant is not improbable.
(C) The likelihood of human error at the operating consoles of nuclear power generators cannot be lessened by thoughtful design of dials, switches, and displays.
(D) The design of nuclear power plants attempts to compensate for possible failures of the materials used in their construction.
(E) No serious accident will be caused in the future by some flaw in the advanced-technology portion of a nuclear power plant.
Please explain your answers.
B. B should look promising, given its weak wording--inference questions like this one generally favor answer choices with qualifications such as not improbable
. Conversely, I'd avoid C and E because of their categorical cannot
Then, looking back at the passage, you can see that the main point is that nuclear power plant accidents have so far been caused by human error. The last sentence tells us that human errors of this sort are likely to occur in the future (cannot be thought unlikely = are likely
). So an accident caused by human error is likely to happen in the future. That's what B says.
A might seem tempting--but the bit about becoming increasingly common isn't supported by the passage.