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The debate on nuclear power has taken different directions due to the disagreements it has created among governments. Today, most regimes have justified their possession of nuclear weapons on basis of self defense or what may be termed as “protection of national security against aggression”.
There are many reasons why different nations have remained vocal on the need to be allowed to operate nuclear power plants. On the other side of the debate, there are those countries that believe other nations should not be in possession of nuclear weapons because they pose major security threats in the world. This has been associated with terrorism or crimes of aggression where some powerful nations want to violate rights of others through creating tensions.
The reader will agree that whatever position on nuclear power what matters is the objective or end goal. In ethics, it would refer to ideologies under utilitarianism and deontological moral conception. Thus, should possession of nuclear weapons be based on the desired end as to justify the means? Or is possession of nuclear weapons a malum in se (bad in itself). This will be discussed in due course of the study.
In this section, the researcher will present two reasons why a country’s nuclear power may be justified and one reason why it cannot be supported.
In the past, a government official from North Korea expressed to the UN General Assembly that the country possessed nuclear weapons as a mechanism to self-defense (Tibori 90). Therefore, he blamed Washington (The United States) for quoting the non-proliferation and terrorism act only to interfere with sovereign states.
In addition, the Foreign Minister, then Choe Su Hon, stated that a country’s possession of nuclear power for the sake of self defense (Lackey 54) was in tandem with its efforts towards peace and security (Staff Writers United Nations AFP 1).
Indeed, nuclear weapons may potentially cause great destruction and protracted illness but there is no any particular treaty that deems their use as opposed to the law. The law prohibits use of nuclear weapons if such turns out to be a means of war. The International Criminal Court declined to state that nuclear weapons violate customary international law in every circumstance.
As indicated earlier, nuclear power has been condemned due to the fact that it is destructive. Firstly, explosions of nuclear weapons create blast effects, preliminary nuclear radiation, thermal radiation, radioactive fallout and electromagnetic pulse (Sheldon 183).
The other danger is that, upon detonation of nuclear weapons, the explosion spreads to the air where in turn it produces a fireball that travels at a speed equal to that of light (Louka 66). This leads to a hurricane kind of wind which is followed by a heat wave. This, at large, creates more hazards to the environment and even causes death to communities around. In the same vein, the health hazards may create fatal injuries such as burns and thermal radiation (Sheldon 185).
The study has demonstrated the opposing sides in as far as nuclear power is concerned. It is acceptable to purport that nuclear power may be used if such is meant to promote peace and security; on the other hand, there lacks a specific law that prohibits possession of nuclear power. On the contrary, nuclear power, especially due to explosions may create damages to the eco-system and even complicate health of human beings.
Lackey, Douglas. Moral Principles and Nuclear Weapons. USA: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 1984. Print.
Louka, Elli. Nuclear Weapons, Justice and the Law. USA: Edward Elgar Publishing. 2011. Print.
Sheldon, Jill. “Nuclear Weapons and the Laws of War: Does Customary International Law Prohibit the use of Nuclear Weapons in all Circumstances?” Fordham International Law Journal, 20. 1 (1996): 181-262. Print.
Staff Writers United Nations AFP. “North Korea Says Nuclear Weapons for Self-Defense.” 2006. Web. Oct. 30, 2012. <http://www.spacewar.com/reports/North_Korea_Says_Nuclear_Weapons_For_Self_Defense_999.html>.
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Tibori, Kinga. Anticipatory Action in Self-Defence: Essence and Limits under International Law. USA: Springer Publisher. 2011. Print.