Decisions about the use of science and technology are made by:
Public regulation can be introduced to reduce risk.
To make a decision, people need to take account of the benefits and risks to individuals and groups of people.
People are more willing to accept a risk if:
How people think about a risk can be different to the calculated risk. People often overestimate the risk of unfamiliar things (such as skydiving) and things that have an invisible effect (like ionising radiation).
The real risk may be very different from the perceived risk - the risk that someone thinks is there.
When making a decision about the introduction of science and technology, the benefits and risks should be considered, as well as who is affected, how and why.
Although aircraft accidents usually result in many deaths and are widely reported in the media, air travel is really, the safest form of transport.
Similarly, the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima resulted in many deaths, but in reality the likelihood of dying from a nuclear accident is very low - in fact even cycling is more dangerous.
As with most activities, there are risks as well as benefits and it's important that the benefits outweigh the risks.