In the past days and years the question about nuclear waste as a means of dealing with green house effects have been very common and it might need some form of ethical answers such as justice and equity. But so many questions normally rise from this argument which brings forth the discussion of whether the storage and production of nuclear wastes is irresponsible or responsible. A green house is a structure where plants are grown and is constructed using glass or plastic materials on the walls and the roof.
Solar radiation that comes from the sun heats up the structure warming soil,plants and all other things that are inside the structure. The warmed air is normally retained in the green house by the roof and the walls. Green house effects is the rise in temperature experienced by the earth caused by certain gases like water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane. These gases are in the atmosphere and they trap energy from the sun to warm up the earth. The process occurs naturally and it helps in heating up the atmosphere and the earth surface.
Too much of everything is poisonous,if the effects of green house becomes too strong, it would make the earth too warm than the usual. A little extra warming may bring problems for animals, plant and human living on the earth. The Ethical Theory on Green House Effects Ethics is a field that explores the study on morals. Ethics is also describe as consideration of responsible actions systematically. Note that nuclear waste has been named as the main solution for green house effects. In the past, the question on nuclear waste storage has involved ethical and technical questions.
Coward, 1993, states that, there are three ethical theories that can be applied in the discussion of green house effects. The theories are, Utilitarianism, Kantian ethics and Ethics of virtue. Utilitarianism. This is an elaborate theory that states that people normally take account of the harm or benefits produced by their actions. The theory argues that what gives good is important and very useful in our lives but that which produces bad is harmful and not needed in our lives. Maximizing social benefits is emphasized in this theory.
Good is described as that which gives us pleasure and makes us happy. Utilitarianism gives an important social goal of maximizing social benefits. As far as nuclear waste is concerned the question of the extends of sacrifices in terms of deaths caused by radioactivity for example cancer, the society have to make for economic growth and wealth needs to be considered. From the Utilitarianism point of view there is no risk that is an acceptable solution when the action is against a given group of people. Another point is, all risks are acceptable when done to gain some economic consequences.
A boundary has to drawn to show where acceptability boundary is. The problem with the utilitarianism is that it doesnt consider human rights concerning health and life and about equal protection to all. Coward, 1993, explains that, the theory doesnt consider the future generation. Great emphasis is place on those living presently. With the underground storage of nuclear waste the present generation is making decision for the generations to come exposing them to many risks and yet they didnt benefit from the production of the nuclear waste.
This is not fair and even some people in the present generation do not approve the underground storage of the nuclear wastes. To make the matters worse the weight of the effects of underground nuclear storage lies heavily on the future generation more than on the present generation. All this brings so many doubts on if the present generation has the right to make decisions that will have serious effects on the others to come. Kantian Ethics The greatest and the most important question in this theory is what people should do and what is morally right or the principle of molarity that is high.
Behavior is normally detected by does and what we should or ought to do. Justice is very important in this ethical system and is called the perfect virtue and carries all the other virtual in which the rights of other human beings are recognized. The golden rule in this theory is what you dont want to be done to you , you should not do it to others. Its mainly centered on justice and equity. This means that we should not act unjustly to others for our own selfish gains. Everybody even the unborn has equal rights and no one should overstep on the others rights.
In the present generation deciding to make sites for nuclear storage in the rural ares is not fair to those people who live in those areas. They also has their rights which should be respected. They should not bear all the risks on behalf of others simply because they live in the rural ares. Nuclear waste and nuclear energy cause the problem of irreversibility of released radioactivity. For the present generation to use the nuclear energy for the next thirty to forty years, they create radioactive waste that can be dangerous to many who are to come.
This is a situation that can not be changed and the coming generation will have to accept it. This is not fair since the minority who are presently living makes decisions that will affect the majority who will have to pay the expensive cost. The state should make judgment on human actions that may result into long term results. Thus nuclear power plants should not be opened. Ethics of Virtue This ethic explores what good life is and what constitutes it. Good life is formed with the help of others whom we relate with.
Good life dont have to do with the material possession that one has. Good life comes from our social life and how we relate to others and nature. Justice is very vital in this ethical system. It is called the perfect virtue and carries all the other virtual in which the rights of other human beings are recognized. Conclusion Justice requires that the generations to come do not begin life worse than the present generation. Nuclear waste storage can bring great harm to the generation to come and yet they may not be getting any advantage from them.
Justice should bring responsibility for our actions and their consequences. Nuclear power requires the present generation responsibility for thousand years to come. This is beyond our reckoning power. Justice could be based on ethical basis with the claim of protecting the future generation from green house effects damages by nuclear waste storage. Thus on principle of justice, dealing with nuclear waste gives so many problems.
List Coward, H. , Hurka, T. & Hare, K. , 1993, Ethics & climate Change : The Green House Effects, Ireland, Genealogical Publishers.