The Shift in Thinking Ethically About Nuclear Accidents: A Comparative Ethical and Historical Case Study

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Title: The Shift in Thinking Ethically About Nuclear Accidents: A Comparative Ethical and Historical Case Study
Authors: Yau, Carmen Kar-Yu
Date: 2013-01-25
Abstract: Between 1952 and 2011, many nuclear accidents transformed the public’s perception of nuclear power, yet there continues to be a disconnected relationship between the public’s perception of nuclear accidents and the governmental perception of nuclear accidents. In the 1950s, nuclear accidents were quite unknown and people did not understand the negative consequences associated with such events. By 2011, nuclear accidents had become more known, and people understood the negative consequences and other implications that were associated with such events; this is also the time period where the disconnected relationship becomes more evident. The literature on nuclear accidents seems to focus largely on social, psychological and environmental scientific perspectives, but what is missing is the ethical perspective of this change in public perception. Study of the ethical perspective of this change in public perception can add to the current literature on nuclear accidents by showing that ethical thought is influenced and shaped through learning from the negative consequences of historical events. Drawing on the works of Roderick Nash and Gordon Graham, this thesis explores the ethical and historical perspectives of this change in public perception of nuclear accidents and how this change will contribute to future energy use policies. I argue that this change in the public perception of nuclear accidents stemmed from lessons learned from multiple nuclear accidents that occurred from 1952 to 2011. As the public perception of nuclear accidents changes, the disconnected relationship between the public perception and the governmental perception becomes more evident.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/23740
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-780
CollectionThèses Saint-Paul // Saint Paul Theses
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