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Nuclear Technology Evolution
The search for renewable energy form brought with it nuclear energy, which has remained the most controversial technological issue for a long period. Nuclear debates started during its discovery. These debates involved anti-nuclear activists, pro-nuclear activists and the scientists. In spite of these debates, nuclear technology grew fast.
This was supported by scientific innovation. After the World War I, Scientist doubled their efforts in nuclear research. In 1950s, there was an eminent tension between the pro-nuclear programs and anti-nuclear groups. This was fuelled by scientific discoveries over radioactive elements in the oceans and wells.
Increase in literacy brought the general public into the nuclear debate too. However, people were divided over choices of rejection and adoption of nuclear technology. Many people thought the radioactive materials can be contained. Scientific discoveries brought more tension, as well. While some discoveries showed that nuclear materials can safely be handled, others such as the discovery of radioactive elements scared people. Safety concerns grew among people, a reflection of Japanese citizens’ response after the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant meltdown.
After the World War II, the world began debates over nuclear weapons. Conflicts have sprung between the anti and pro-nuclear weapon. Currently, South Korea is under tension due to its nuclear plants. The country is perceived as a threat to international peace. Consequently, debates are waging over nuclear power plants. The Fukushima Dai-ichi plant meltdown has rekindled these debates attracting strong opposing forces between the government and the public (Alistair 2012).
Nuclear Energy Controversies
Use of nuclear power has raised a lot of controversies across the globe. Citizens, environmental bodies and government officials all seem to have different positions regarding nuclear energy. Since the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant meltdown, tension has been created by these bodies against the government. In Japan, the government is supported by the economists, while Japanese citizens are backed up by environmentalists.
Currently, Japanese citizens are against any reactivation of nuclear power plant in their country. As Jackie says, “Thousands of Japanese — young, old, in wheelchairs and on skateboards — shout anti- nuclear slogans from behind police barricades that snake around the office of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda” (Jackie 2012, p.1). Japanese citizens are concerned with their safety and strongly believes that nuclear decisions should consider safety measures.
Contrary, Japanese government believes that the economic impact outweighs dangers associated with nuclear power. As a result, the government has reactivated two new nuclear stations. The nuclear stations have been reactivated despite Japanese public outcry.
Contrary to the public, government consideration in making such a decision was mainly driven by economic status. An official, Saruhashi, did say, “”If another nuclear accident happens now, like the one at Fukushima Dai-ichi, everyone in Japan will blame us, But many people will be consuming the electricity that we provide”(Jackie 2012, p.1).
The melt down of Fukushima Dai-ichi plant has cost Japan a lot in energy importation. The plant provided averagely 30 per cent of energy consumed in Japan. As a result, the government foresaw economic down turn without reactivating two new plants.
Business community spokesman, Satoshi Mukuta, say “”If Japan decides to stop all nuclear power, we will not have a stable and inexpensive source of electricity. The cost of everything will go up by at least 20 per cent, our economy will suffer,” (Jackie 2012, p.1). Apart from Japan, nuclear power usage has raised a lot of controversial debates across the world.
Nuclear Technology Diverse Views
Technological advancement is not an individual country’s decision. For example, nuclear issues are global concerns. This is because of massive damages nuclear pose to the environment and also their long term implications on people. As a result, citizens, national and international bodies, and regulatory machinery come together in making their views.
Today, many nations have entered treaties to aid in handling nuclear problems. Treaties have been applied to guide nations through joint conferences since the end of the Cold War. Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), for example, is working towards world peace by ensuring nuclear weapons’ disarmament. It is this treaty that nations have come together to fight against nuclear weapons. The United Kingdom foreign affair minister, Alistair Burt said,
“All States Parties agreed to support the Treaty to meet new and existing threats. A five year action plan was agreed by consensus, spanning the three so-called “pillars” of the NPT – progress toward disarmament by existing nuclear weapon states, measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons to others and, a crucial part of the bargain struck in 1968, supporting the peaceful use of nuclear energy for those that want It” (Alistair 2012, p.1).
However, treaties have not achieved maximum acceptance across the world. The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has not been accepted by some countries. Alistair says, “The three non- signatories India, Israel, and Pakistan, are the only additional states believed to have gained possession of nuclear weapons since the Treaty’s inception in 1968”. It is important for other means of policy making to be sought to bring these non- signatories together to ensure nuclear fire heads are eliminated.
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Nations have set regulatory measures through government legislations to meet every government view. The legal system expresses and enforces the government wishes. Consequently, there are international bodies such as UN and UNEP who are concerned with the safety of our environment and national security. Finally, the public and local authorities are also vital bodies whose view must be sought before adoption of nuclear usage (Alistair 2012).
The Role of Engineers and Technology Experts
The Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown is partly considered to be a natural disaster and partly an engineers’ failure. Sensitivity of expertise effectiveness in managing nuclear plants has increased since the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant meltdown. Any technological set up should have expert guidance and knowledge to minimise related technological dangers The Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the United States vote against licensing new nuclear plants brought several concerns in the Court of Appeal, for example.
The United States Court of Appeal for Columbia District consequently argued “the agency had failed to conduct an environmental impact statement or a finding of no significant environmental impact before deeming the storage of waste in wet pools and dry casks safe”(Hannah 2012, p.1). This was highly welcomed by environmentalists and the public.
Nuclear technology expertise does not only revolve around building the plants but also the capacity to manage their waste. This is under environmental sustainability development. Experts need to conduct environmental impact assessment and report risks and their mitigation measures.
Poor environmental risk analysis only increases chances of risks associated with plants. In countering the agency, for example, the Natural Resources Defense Council, claims “the agency violated the National Environmental Policy Act by not adequately considering the environmental implications of storing spent fuel at nuclear plants, sometimes for years after operations have ceased” (Hannah 2012, p.1).
In any technological sector, experts’ knowledge in running the processes, structures and outcomes is vital. Since there are regulations governing operations of industries, poor applications of expertise knowledge might lead to court involvement or public pressure that stops industrial operations.
I need to have knowledge about expertise requirements for both external and internal organisation management. These will ensure that the technological sector serves the interest of the public as well as the government. Consequently, poor adoption of technology can create serious environmental problems. As a result, a person in the industrial world needs to have a wide knowledge of its environment (Hannah 20120).
Reasons for the Diverse Nuclear Technology Views
Before a nation embraces any form of technology, several factors need to be considered. Across the world, incorporation of nuclear technology must be in line with political, economic and public demands. Public controversy towards incorporation of nuclear energy solely relies on safety measures.
People believe that safety should be given priority over all impacts technology can create in a society. Contrary economist considers cost effectiveness as the chief priory for technological adoption. As a result, economic partners consider nuclear energy as the best alternative, for example, in Japan.
Before incorporation of any technological development, consideration is made to ensure international peace and understanding is maintained. Evidently, any technological development influences international relations. This is because nations share a lot in communication, trade and environment. Hence a country cannot acquire a technology such as nuclear usage without mutual understanding.
Technological impacts are felt beyond boundaries. Nuclear weapons and reactors have brought immeasurable damages across the world. As a result, there is need for technological development to be controlled by nations as one community. Eradication of harmfully technology, such as nuclear weapons constantly is delayed by world’s disunity. As a result, conflicts have risen across nations due to technological mismanagements. The current case is witnessed in Southern Korea.
Public interest is also a vital measure before a nation embraces any form of technology. The public must accept that a given technology is safe, beneficial and reliable for its use. For example, technological adaptation is tied to interest of the public and the government.
Both the governmental regulators and non-governmental policy makers need assurance that any technological developed in a country meets expertise standards and are friendly to the environment. Before adopting any technology, there is a need to have knowledge of running its processes, structures and outcome. Industries, which have failed.to develop these core areas, have faced a lot of pressure in their operation (Hannah 20120).
Apart from knowledge gained from the selected articles, self-directed learning has exposed me to several challenges. I have to plan to get the best materials of my interest and that I feel will satisfy my knowledge quest. I have been responsible for my work through developing my own learning schedules.
I have gained in time management skills. I have to be my own time manager in carrying out my work. The system has enhanced my research skills. I constantly develop my research skills, unlike when an instructor provides me with everything. Self-directed learning has opened my eyes in the learning area. I have realised that there are several things that are not covered in classroom learning or teacher driven environment.
Alistair, B. 2012, The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – At the Heart of the Global Nuclear Debate. Web.
Hannah, N. 2012, Nuclear Waste: NRC halts licensing decisions amid storage debate. Web.
Jackie, N. 2012, Japan’s Nuclear Debate Weighs Safety, Economics. Web.