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This paper presents a report of science and technology committee report written to the mayor about nuclear radiation leakage from the Mazeltov submarine. The submarine was located at the 32nd street on the Navy Pier in San Diego. The leakage resulted in unknown amounts of plutonium-239m in the air, causing contamination.
Radioactive dust from the incidence is believed to have caused sudden death to ten sailors and a civilian in a ship within the harbor. The incidence reportedly occurred at the harbor on Thanksgiving Day at around 6 PM as those on board were on holiday dinner. Reports from the Environmental Protection Agency indicate that the bay was contaminated as a result of the radiation. The defense department, responsible for the leakage chose to remain silent even after eleven people died from the accident.
A nuclear submarine is a submarine which is motorized by a nuclear reactor. Thus, the effects of an accident caused by submarine explosions can traverse across boundaries causing adverse health and environmental problems.
Every profession has a set of ethical values and principles meant to guide the conduct of professionals in that field. The ethical values consist of rules and obligations that spell out what is right and wrong for the professionals. The values differ from one profession to another depending on the practice.
They are meant to ensure responsible practice. A departure from the prescribed procedure can call for disciplinary action from the professionals’ board (Time Vendor LLC, 67). The code helps protect society, environment and people seeking professional service from dangers of malpractice.
The Mazeltov leakage is one of the cases where professional negligence has lead to massive loss of life, environmental degradation and loss of property. The ethical values prohibit professional malpractices such as negligence, corruption or extortions.
Production and handling of Plutonic
Submarines are usually powered by nuclear reactors. A nuclear reactor is a system that is made up of controls that sustain a nuclear series of reactions. Reactors are primarily used for producing electricity, propelling submarines and aircrafts and for conducting research. Hence, in our model, the three deadly radioactive substances are associated with nuclear reactions. They are plutonium, uranium and tritium.
Production and handling of these substances should be done with the utmost care to avoid deadly accidents that may occur when the substances explode. Reactors used in nuclear powered submarines have similar potentials when they explode accidentally. Such submarines are used exclusively by the ministry of defense for defense missions in the sea.
Explosions from these vessels can cause detrimental effects to the lives of people in ports, sailors, marine life and cause contamination to water and air (Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament). These effects have been reported to cause massive loss of life both human and aquatic, as well as gene mutations.
The accident at the port resulted in plutonium leakage that caused the death of eleven people, ten of them sailors and a civilian. The element is used for making nuclear weapons and can be kept for a long time; plutonium can also be recycled for use in other nuclear weapons.
The recycling process is solely the mandate of the ministry of defense and must be handled with appropriate care. Several accidents that have occurred from nuclear submarines result from careless handling of nuclear reactors. Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament points out a case of the 1957 accident at the wind scale, which resulted from the regular release of unused energy from the reactors (Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament). The process resulted in a fierce fire that took a lot of time and effort to put off.
Serious contamination resulted from the explosion leading to government ban on milk within an area of 500 square kilometers Edwards estimates that as much as 100 people have died from cancer related ailments resulting from radiations of the incidence (Edwards). Cases of local authorities and defense department keeping silent or maintaining secret the effect of radiation accidents have been common in all accidents reported so far.
It is essential that affected parties take up responsibility and inform the public about what has occurred and take appropriate precautionary measures to reduce the effect of the radiation. Plutonium is manufactured primarily for use in military weapons. Grade Pu239 is used solely for weapon manufacture; other low grade plutonium is used for generation of electricity. Accident chances increase as reactors grow old it’s necessary to make regular checks on reactor parts and to replace older ones.
According to Higgins the use of substandard reactor parts has partly been responsible for some accidents resulting from nuclear reactions (112). A nuclear reaction accident that was averted at the eleventh minute at the Sellafield nuclear power station was as a result of using substandard parts in the magnox reactors.
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The report by a health inquiry team at the plant following a series of incidences revealed that most parts of the reactors were substandard, and the ventilation system was faulty. Edwards suggests that only the best parts should be used in chemical industries, to ensure maximum safety (Edwards).
Apart from leakages that produce hazardous fumes, nuclear accidents can also result in severe fires that are hard to put off. It is pertinent to note that some nuclear accidents can result from weather elements and well as natural disasters such as seismic events.
Separation process for americanium from plutonium has also been reported to be a case of interest to health and environment. Americanium is a by-product, normally discarded where as plutonium is used for making weapons. People employed to work in such places should be of steady mind and well trained to understand how to handle the chemicals (Clement 72).
Main submarine accidents related to nuclear reactions is caused by collisions. Submarines’ areas of operations are primarily in places where oil tankers frequent. Collisions with such tankers can easily create fatal accidents. The same problem may occur when a submarine crosses a ferry path. There are reports also about submarine collisions with fishing or patrol boats, in case of such collisions; the incident can put the lives of fishermen and aquatic animals at risk.
There are other accidents that have been reported involving submarines and ships. These accidents result in greater damage to the ship, and are more likely to cause reactor accidents (Herkert 124). Incase such a ship is carrying flammable substances, severe fires can easily result from the incident. NATO and USSR submarines are reported to have been involved in collisions emanating from the nature of submarine operations.
The sonar sometimes fails to interpret and confirm the presence of other vessels, leading to accidents (Kemp 85). There are also submarine accidents that occur at the harbor, when the submarine is berthing. The clyde location has largely been synonymous with this type of collisions, leading to massive loss of life and property.
The Role of the Expert in the Appointed Commission
As earlier stated, submarine are powered by nuclear reactors, the expert will use skills and knowledge about nuclear radiation to advice the mayor accordingly about the tragedy. With the experience of practical application of the discoveries made by a scientist in the field of nuclear radiation, the expert will relate concepts that contribute to Mazeltov radiation and provide technical advice to the mayor.
An expert examines the case and makes comparison to other similar cases that have occurred elsewhere to be able to articulate useful facts about the radiation (Clowney and Patricia 28).
I will share the information gathered from USS Mazeltov Submarine Nuclear Radiation Leakage case with the public. The public needs to be aware of what exactly caused the leakage that eventually led to the death of eleven people in the bay.
A lot of information that is in the public domain regarding the incident is based on speculations which do not necessarily carry the picture of the real incident. Apart from the public, the data and information from the study will be useful for future studies on similar tragedies by researchers in the area (Clowney and Patricia 29).
I will store and circulate the information in a manner that it can be accessed by those who require it. Because the residents don’t know if the eleven sailors died onboard the ship, I will involve the physician and public health official for this role. The physician will examine the death and disseminate the information to the public health officer. The public health officer in turn will have detailed information to reveal to the public.
What the Department of Defense should do
It is rather unfortunate that the department of defense chose to remain silent about an issue of enormous importance on public health caused by negligence on the side of some of its staff. The environmental protection agency report indicated that the radiation incident caused contamination on the bay.
This was further confirmed by the death of ten sailors and a civilian. Continued silence on this matter with no action being taken will lead to further problems emanating the tragedy. The defense department should own up and state the mitigation strategies that are underway to reduce the consequences of the radiation.
The defense department should write a detailed report of the incidence and inform the public to be aware of the case. The defense department should organize and carry out an analysis of the accident and its effects to the environment as well as the people living within the location. The defense should advise members of the public on appropriate precautionary measures to observe during the active radiation period.
Such precautionary measures as outlined by Pinkus include: “staying in-house, protecting the lungs, use of iodine prophylaxis and relocation” (231). The government should then inform the public about the mitigation measures being undertaken to manage the situation and how long that would take. State authorized personalities should come forth to clarify the myth that is in the public domain about the incident. These strategies will reduce fear among the residents and prevent major exodus from the city.
A state agency should take responsible reports from the accident and periodically transmit them to the public throughout the process of handling the accident. The foreign missions in other nations should be informed about the incident as well as neighboring countries. This is essential as they can also be involved in identifying solutions to the problem as it may also affect them. Thus, basing on the solutions developed, resident will feel comfortable and avoid mass exodus from the city.
Possible Objection to Expert’s Recommendations
My quest to relay my research findings to the public is expected to meet resistance from state functions. The state would be more comfortable with research findings from an organization that is linked to it so that the findings can be manipulated to hide the true picture.
However, in case they don’t, I will cite an alternative strategy. I will root for calm and patient with the residents. This is important because, the problem cannot be solved overnight. Then, I will involve all the stakeholders and an internationally re-known organization in submarine disaster handling.
This will be in order to build a consensus solution for the residents. I trust that, with the resident’s participation, this will reduce confusion and social disintegration. An international organization with local stakeholder’s representation can manage to come up with a solution. Even if, the army decides to quit, the organization has expertise in the field, hence the mayor will readily support the initiative.
A submarine uses nuclear reactors to generate power. A smaller proportion of nuclear reactor can create or deliver a large amount of power. Nuclear energy is used to power submarines through nuclear reaction. The nuclear reactors in submarines have detrimental effects in the eco-system and health. This is through the radiations they emit. The effects range from loss of life both human and marine, gene mutations, water and environmental pollutions among other effects.
To avert the possibility of the same occurrence, submarines should incorporate safety standards, routine maintenance and invest in quality training programs. These approaches will minimize radiation leaks and emissions thus containing accidents in submarine.
Clement, Bruce. Disasters and public health: planning and response. California: Elsavier Inc. 2009. Print.
Clowney, David and Patricia Mosto. Earthcare: An Anthology in Environmental Ethics. London: Rawman and Littlefield Publishers Inc. 2009. Print.
Edwards, Rob. Is Scotland safe from nuclear submarine crashes in the Clyde?. 2011. Web. <https://www.robedwards.com/2010/04/is-scotland-safe-from-nuclear-submarine-crashes-in-the-clyde.html>
Herkert, Joseph. Social, Ethical, and Policy Implications of Engineering: New York: Michigan University Press. 2000. Print.
Higgins, Chris. Nuclear Submarine Disaster. New York: Chelsea House Publishers. 2002. Print.
Kemp, David. Exploring environmental issues: an integrated approach. New York: Routledge. 2004. Print.
Pinkus, Lynn. Engineering Ethics: Balancing Cost, Schedule, and Risk–Lessons Learned from the Space Shuttle. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1997. Print.
Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The Safety of Trident. 2011. Web. <http://www.banthebomb.org/archives/trisaf/index.shtml>
Time Vendor LLC. A Disaster Planning and Management Guide. New York: Time Vendor LLC. 2006. Print.