The Ethics Issues of Nuclear Energy: Hard Lessons Learned from Chernobyl and Fukushima
The Japan nuclear disaster once again raised the ethical issues of nuclear energy programs. Nuclear energy is considered as a sustainable energy source that reduces green house gas emission and produces far less wastes than conventional energy. On the other hand, nuclear fuel and wastes are highly radioactive, posing many threats to public health and the environment. Nuclear accidents are catastrophic and have a far-reaching impact on global health. Based on the ethical principles of utilitarilism, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, disclosure, and autonomy, mankind needs to take a more stringent approach on nuclear programs. Steps to be taken include improving nuclear safety, enhancing risk management, requiring full disclosure of facts, pushing for open communication with the public, and through developing alternative green energies, such as wind, solar, and geothermal energy.