F. R. Farmer

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Frank Reginald Farmer OBE, FRS, (18 December 1914 – 10 June 2001) was a British nuclear regulator (working for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority's Safety and Reliability Directorate, SRD) and later an academic at Imperial College London.


  • He considered the public acceptability of risk, (e.g. from nuclear reactors), arguing that a whole spectrum of events needs to be considered - not just the Maximum Credible Accident, but also those of less consequence but which were much more probable.
  • He used examples such as hill walking to define a spectrum of risks which people found acceptable.
  • He embodied this in a variation of (Acceptable Risk Frequency/Event Probability) with (Consequence), which is usually called the Farmer Curve.[1]
  • Farmer postulated a near-inverse variation as acceptable - thus events which have twice the consequence must be approximately half as frequent, or less. The Farmer Curve is usually plotted as a straight line in log-log co-ordinates.

He was made an OBE in 1967 and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1981.[2]


  1. ^ "Introduced by Farmer, Farmer's curves are complementary cumulative risk profiles of accident outcomes. As an example, the horizontal axis could display the variable "accident severity" or "number of fatalities". The vertical axis would show the "frequency of fatalities exceeding X" which is a complementary cumulative risk profile. M. Raghab, SAFETY, Chapter 5, The Risk Assessment Methodology" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 December 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Fellow Details". Royal Society. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  • [1] typical Farmer Paper