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Operation of Nuclear Power Plants

The theme in this review proposes the understanding the benefits of the Nuclear Technology both the benefits of the Nuclear Technology both as per the current times and that of the past. It goes further to look into the society take on it and the detriments of the technology. Nuclear technology is a technology that consists of atomic nuclei reactions. According to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2014) there are two techniques of producing nuclear energy that is, nuclear fusion and nuclear fission. In nuclear fusion atoms are combined to form a larger atom thus releasing energy while in nuclear fission atoms are split into smaller atoms to release energy.

Nuclear energy is mainly used in generating electricity a process which is done in the nuclear plants. Nuclear plants operates like a thermoelectric power plant though is uses nuclear reactors to produce heat that is used in heating water to produce steam by fission reactions of the fuel atoms.  Water reactors (pressurized boiling water) are the most common types of reactors used in production of electric energy (United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2014).

Nuclear technology was used in Fukushima, where a nuclear power plant was initiated after the Tohoku earthquake in 2011. However, from March 12 to 15th, there was a nuclear disaster, when the earthquake struck; the active reactors shut down the fission reactions automatically (Arota 53). The tsunami had disabled the generators in place for an emergency that was responsible for the provision of power to cool down.  Due to the insufficient cooling, the disaster happened. There was an explosion from hydrogen-air chemical, three nuclear meltdowns and there were radioactive materials released.

With this failure of the nuclear technology in Fukushima, there were a lot of mistrust that surfaced with the technology, undermining the trust people had on it. According to research by Hindmarsh (100), there was an argument that the reason why the nuclear technology failed was on political grounds, social and environmental issues. He argues that this technology was surrounded by many political biases and that is the sole reason why people should not turn their back on this technology. There were a lot of political interferences in the assessment of risks, inconsistent regulation of the plant, and safety reports by government authorities in Japan. He further argued that the political power can be averted by delegating power to expert scientists and regulators, who are independent and objective to the well-being of the project (Hindmarsh  105). Also, research by Rebuild Japan Initiative digs into the nuclear technology used in Fukushima and what went wrong ( Sakai 50). It revealed that the tsunami that began the disaster could have been prevented. This shows that there were poor responses, relating to poor crisis management by the government and the Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company) among other stakeholders. This player portrayed ambiguity where they depended on “absolute safety” and did not set measures for future risks (Nuclear Safety Commission 70).

The utopian perspective argues that technological advancement is aimed at the wellbeing of the society whether in the short-term or in the long-term, thus in this case there techno utopians argue that nuclear technology has positive impact to the society and thus should be embraced despite the challenges facing the technology while Techno-dystopian claims that technology is threatening the wellbeing of the society, from the dystopian perspective nuclear technology is life threatening and should not be embraced.

Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

 The society viewed the nuclear technology to be unsafe due to the release of the minor radioactive materials and the outdated reactors’ design. Others considered it very unsafe by use of this evidence, which was undisguised. Their views and beliefs shaped their opinions that it is bad and should not be applied. Their views on this were value-laden. According to a disaster statistics carried out, it showed that there were 442 nuclear power reactors that were responsible for producing 14% of electricity globally. However, after the incident, 15 nuclear reactors exited and the electricity production dropped to 11% (Huber 04). For instance, after the disaster, Japan buried its nuclear ambitions and has since been nuclear power free. Germany community also shut down its eight nuclear reactors immediately following the Fukushima disaster. Switzerland as well took the same path.  However, there another community in the world that are embracing the advanced nuclear technology despite the disaster. As per the current statistics in the world, there are 435 reactors, and other 68 are in underway construction (Organization, for E.C.-D ). France and USA strengthened their nuclear power reactors. These two countries are known to have the highest adoption of advanced nuclear technology. Various other nations such as China, India, Russia, and Brazil are also enhancing their production of nuclear power.

In his documentary, Pandora’s Promise Robert Stone poses an argument that directs that nuclear power is safe and can be used in managing global warming despite the past nuclear opposition. This documentary poses different facts to support its argument that nuclear power is safe. There is the argument on the incident in Paul Scherrer Institute that is located in Switzerland. Nuclear power is not responsible for nuclear deaths. The further argument is that an accident caused the 46 deaths in Chernobyl, according to a UNSCEAR report. This documentary supports the use of advanced nuclear technology in making electricity (Pandora’s Promise).

According to Robert Stone, many people have misunderstood the nuclear technology since the past. He portrays nuclear power as clean energy that is crucial for every upcoming economy in the world. This film undermines the solar panels and wind panels. This is seen value-laden opinions. Due to that, it has faced critics on undermining the other sources of energy.in his documentary; he portrays technological utopianism, where he brings out nuclear power to have positive impacts on both the economy and the environment. Nuclear technology is brought out to have a utopia in the society. The argument is based on the positive outcomes of using nuclear power. However, as much as the environmental activists in this film advocate for the nuclear technology. They also state that if the nuclear power goes wrong, it is very deadly (Lynas 5). Thus Lynas argument is based embracing nuclear power, helps in fighting global warming in the world.  

In another argument made by the frame, is that of radiation. This documentary focusses on admitting is dangerous but not as bad as the society paints it to be. There are enough reasons to be derisive on the nuclear power. This is portrayed out by the film. For instance, the use of Plutonium in creating weapons. Plutonium is a byproduct of uranium fission. Pandora’s Promise persuades an audience through testimonials of environmental activists who have a changed perspective about the nuclear power. However, this film is not clear is setting out its arguments facts; rather, it seeks to convince the audience through the personal testimonial journeys of the nuclear converts. This in return prevents the flow of the arguments coherently. This film focuses on basing the argument on the environmental activists’ credibility. However, along with the film, this credibility appears skeptical. For instance, where one of them, Michael Shellenberger admits that he once had faith that nuclear technology was behind the million casualties in Chernobyl (Hertsgaard 12). This raises the question, among the audience, if this film is convincing enough. Should the public, believe in the nuclear technology by the argument the documentary laws on the table.

Theoretical Perspectives on Nuclear Technology

The society has different views on nuclear technology after watching the Pandora’s Promise film. The public has had mixed feelings after watching this film.  Many audiences portray their dissatisfaction in the film because it does not address a whole lot of issues about the nuclear power. This film fails to address the common challenges posed by the nuclear technology such as reactor accidents and how to fix them and the risk of weapons proliferation among other challenges. Thus, the film fails to reach too many audiences, and the public feels there a lot that the film has left out.  Some activists and scientists have identified this film as a hoax and a lie. This film still has not managed to change the perception of a part of the public about the nuclear technology. Due to the arguments presented in the films, some people considered it as just mere propaganda. For instance, Friends of the Earth Australia is among the many groups that termed the documentary as propaganda. This arose from the fact that the film, involves environmental activists who were once against nuclear technology. The public lacks the trust, in believing the facts presented by the so changed environmental activists.  A part of the society, however, found this documentary very helpful and praiseworthy. Some of the audience term it as a very informative film that should be watched by a wider audience to promote the nuclear technology in the whole world.  

 This film is persuasive when it comes to supporting a clean environment. It uses the facts that, no one in USA has died from nuclear power while more than 14000 deaths result annually as a result of using coal. It takes on what the public takes as wrong and tries to convince the audience that it is right. However, this film fails to attain the intended meaning due to various issues that surface in it. For instance, it is offensive to portray the barefoot children in the slums, with the implication that by using the nuclear technology, it will pull them out of poverty. This is outrightly false because the nuclear power cannot directly eliminate poverty by itself.  The film does not portray any discussion on the obstacles that are likely to appear in expanding nuclear energy and the discussion of what could be done. The lack of this vital discussion portrays the argument presented to be one-sided and biased. The film portrays the nuclear worst enemy as the anti –nuclear movement, but this may not be the actual enemy, is how technology has assisted in creating the attitude of complacency. This complacency is what caused the accidents such as Fukushima to occur.  Nuclear power would be successful if there will be realists who acknowledge the problem with this nuclear technology and focus its energy on fixing the problems at hand.  As much as I would support the advanced nuclear technology, a better view should be made but not basing arguments on the Pandora’s Promise Film. Watching the film was quite uncomfortable, bearing in mind the fear we all have on nuclear power but I do agree, we need to accept it someday.                                                  

  Conclusion

Advanced nuclear technology as presented in the review above, is one that the world has not fully embraced. Despite the positive impact that nuclear power is likely to have to the economy of a country, there are still people who are truly against it, because of the past incidents that happened, for instance, the Fukushima Disaster, which most people believe that it was caused by the nuclear power. However, a lot of research has indicated that the Fukushima incident was biased on political grounds. If the government had delegated the full mandated to experts on the technology, many believe that the disaster would not have happened. This is according to the belief that, there would have been measures set to mitigate the risks that led to the Fukushima disaster. There has been technophobia with the advanced nuclear technology, following the incidents that have happened. However, there is need to set measures to address the real problems facing the nuclear technology and how this issues can be fixed. Nuclear technology is more advantageous to an economy but only if, there are crisis management measures to curb future disasters. Every country gave its main focus towards enhancing nuclear technology.

Arato, Rona. Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. , 2014. Print.

Hertsgaard, M, and T.T Williams. "Can Nuclear Power Save the Planet? the Film Pandora's Promise Claims It Can." Nation New York. 297 (2013): 12. Print.

Hindmarsh, R A. Nuclear Disaster at Fukushima Daiichi: Social, Political and Environmental Issues. , 2014. Print.

 H.r. 4979, the Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act of 2016, and H.r. _______, the Nuclear Utilization of Keynote Energy Policies Act: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Energy and Power of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourteenth Congress, Second Session, April 29, 2016. , 2017. Internet resource.

Huber, Wolfgang. "After Fukushima : the Precautionary Principle Revisited : Original Research." Verbum Et Ecclesia. 33.2 (2012): 1-6. Print.

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—. "In Defence of Nuclear Power." (2012): 1-6. document.

Nuclear Power Reactors in the World. , 2016. Print.

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Organisation, for E. C.-D, and Nuclear E. Agency. Nuclear Energy Outlook 2008. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2008. Internet resource.

Pandora's Promise. , 2014. Internet resource.

Sakai T, Takeda T, Soraoka H, Yanagisawa K, Annaka T (2006) Development of a probabilistic tsunami hazard analysis in Japan. Presentation delivered at the International Conference on Nuclear Engineering. Miami, FA, July 17–20. Available at: https://jsmillerdesign.com/FukushimaPapers/Development%20of%20a%20Probalistic%20Tsunami%20Hazard%20Analysis%20in%20Japan.pdf.

Stone, Zofia. Nuclear Technology. Darya Ganj, Dehli [India: White Word Pub, 2012. Internet resource

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2014) operation of a nuclear power plant. Available at: https://nuclear-energy.net/how-nuclear-power-plant-work.html

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