A Study on Social Responsibility of Engineers and Managers
The Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry, 1-6-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8126, Japan
After the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant following the Great East Japan Earthquake, the future promotion of nuclear power generation has been discussed from various points of view. Ensuring national security requires down-toearth policies on energy as well as on defense and food supplies, together with diplomatic efforts and technologies that realize these policies. In the author’s opinion, in view of Japan’s poor fossil fuel resources and a worldwide increase in energy demand, particularly among emerging countries, nuclear power generation should be maintained with all possible measures taken to ensure safety until alternative power generation methods are developed that provide excellent safety, stability, and economy. Therefore, in light of the lessons learned from the experience of the Fukushima accident, the problems identified should be carefully examined and improvements should be made to revitalize nuclear power generation in Japan. With this awareness in mind, this article discusses the concept of the social responsibility of engineers and managers, i.e., the meaning of a sense of responsibility and compliance with laws and norms for business personnel, through personnel at Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc., (Tohoku Electric) at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake and achievements by the late Yanosuke Hirai, a former vice president of the company, who greatly influenced decisions on the premise height of the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant. Nowadays, the statements of engineers, policymakers, and managers are viewed less reliable than before. In such circumstances, reviewing the words and deeds of Mr. Susumu Yoda, a former vice president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc., (Tepco) who was involved in promoting nuclear power generation, we discuss the concept of the social responsibility of those involved in megatechnology. Finally, the author highlights a current question involving a basic problem regarding the concept of decision making in relation to problems including scientific uncertainty, and discuss the direction in which to proceed.
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