Testing Hypothesis In Chapter Four Essay

¶ … Management Strategy to Utilize Meta-Analysis Technique for Nuclear Energy and Waste Disposal and Create Social Sustainability This research proposal explores the link between public perceptions of nuclear power, how those perceptions are formed, and what influence those opinions have on energy policy. These issues are important in light of two realities. First, nuclear energy is declining in its share of global energy. Second, nuclear energy offers what might well be the best solution to climate change. Given the threat posed by climate change, it makes sense that nuclear power would be increasing in share, not decreasing. This Research proposal seeks to look at some of the issues facing nuclear power, and how it can overcome these issues to increase share going forward.

Table of Contents

Abstract ii

Dedication iii

Acknowledgements iv

Table of Contents v

List of Tables viii

List of Figures vii

Chapter One: Introduction 1

Topic Overview 7

Problem Statement 8

Purpose Statement 10

Social Dimension in Nuclear Energy 3

Political Dimension in Nuclear Energy 4

Economic Dimension in Nuclear Energy 6

Research Objectives 7

Hypothesis 9

Hypothesis #1 9

Hypothesis #2 10

Hypothesis#3 11

Hypothesis #4 11

Theoretical Perspectives 12

Assumptions and Biases 14

Significance of the Study 16

Delimitation 17

Limitations 18

Definition of Key Terms 19

General Overview of the Research Design 20

Summary of Chapter One 21

Organization of the Study 22

Chapter Two: Literature Review 23

Hypothesis #1: Public perceptions of nuclear energy are largely driven by disasters. 24

Hypothesis #2: Public perceptions can influence political decision making 28

Hypothesis #3: Unresolved technical issues contribute to policy 30

Hypothesis #4 Nuclear energy is not viewed as a viable solution to climate change 34

Chapter Three: Research Design 41

Research Traditions 41

Research Questions and Hypotheses 44

Research Design 47

Validity 48

Reliability 48

Ethical Issues in the Research 49

Summary of Chapter Three 49

Chapter Four: Findings 52

Findings -- Hypotheses #1 52

Findings -- Hypothesis #2 56

Findings -- Hypothesis #3 59

Findings -- Hypothesis #4 62

Findings -- Tying everything together 65

Chapter five: Conclusions 68

Limitations of the Study 68

Implications for Practice 70

Implications of Study 72

Recommendations for Future Research 73

Reflections 75

References 130


Appendix A: Nuclear Energy Market Share Worldwide (source: IAEA, 2015) 84

Appendix B: Nuclear Reactors Operating Worldwide (source: IAEA, 2015) 85

Appendix C: Number of Nuclear Reactors Under Construction Worldwide (source: IAEA, 2015). 139

List of Figures

[Add List of Figures here ix

Chapter One: Introduction


Nuclear energy was first harnessed for power in 1954, at the Obninsk scientific city some 110km outside of Moscow (Josephenson, 2000, p.2). At the time, nuclear power was viewed as the energy of the future. Unharnessing the power of the atom, it was thought, was to provide a stable, reliable source of energy for the future. Even at the time, it was known that fossil fuels were not going to sustainable as an energy source. The use of atomic weapons at the end of the Second World War highlighted the value of harnessing the atom -- nuclear energy was essential in war, and to meet civilian energy needs. The most technologically advanced societies of that age, the U.S. and USSR, were the leaders in the development of nuclear technology, but they were soon joined by a number of other nations.

Nuclear energy can be described as the energy in the core or nucleus of an atom, which is a small unit that contributes to all matter in the universe. Nuclear energy is derived from nuclear reactions, which are used to produce heat that is most commonly used in steam turbines to generate electricity, especially in a nuclear power station. According to Remo (2015), nuclear energy, which is utilized in weapons and for generating electricity, has the probability to destroy life and also save lives on Earth (p.38). As a result, the likelihood of effective use of nuclear energy to save lives as well as for producing a catastrophic thermonuclear war on Earth has contributed to a huge debate and controversy relating to nuclear energy.

Today, nuclear energy provides for roughly...


There are reactors in 31 countries, for a total of 427 reactors as of 2013 (Schneider et al., 2013). That is seventeen fewer reactors than there were in 2002, and the installed capacity of the industry is at 364 GWe, down from 375 GWe in 2002. Thus, the nuclear power industry is in decline. While some of this can be attributed to the Fukushima disaster that took some of Japan's capacity offline, the fact that nuclear energy is not growing is somewhat perplexing. Since 2002, the world's collective knowledge of climate change has increased substantially. Many nations around the world made commitments to reduce their carbon emissions in the Kyoto Protocol (UN FCC, 2014).
Yet, despite this, there has been very little new investment in nuclear power. Total capacity has declined as noted above, and given that overall energy production capacity has likely increased in this period, the market share for nuclear power has declined significantly in this period. Three quarters of the decline came from Japan, but the top five other nuclear power generators also decreased their output as well (Schneider et al., 2013). In 1993, nuclear power peaked at 17% of total global energy production, but now sits at 10% (Ibid, p.7). With no major new build programs, the average age of the world's nuclear reactors is at 28 years, with over 190 units having run for over 30 years, and 44 units having run for over 40 years (Ibid, p.7). There is some new construction, in fourteen countries, with one (the UAE) being a new member of the nuclear power club. There have been many delays that have stalled progress in prospective new members to the nuclear power club, comprised mainly of developing world nations (Ibid, p.7).

Problem Statement

There are a number of different issues that need to be examined to determine the future of nuclear power. First, there are the social and political dimensions. So many would-be nuclear powers have had trouble getting their reactors built, Bangladesh, Belarus, Jordan, Lithuania, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam among them (Schneider, et al., p.7). In established nuclear power countries, there is a lack of investment in adding new capacity. Where there is new construction, it is to replace aging facilities.

Social Dimension in Nuclear Energy

The social dimension of nuclear energy is also evident in the fact that growth in the nuclear power industry across the globe has been lagging for over two decades. The installed nuclear power capacity has grown every year by a meager 1.3% since the 1987 Chernobyl incident. This slight growth over the past two decades has occurred despite the annual growth and increase in the demand of electricity by nearly 3% every year. While the total primary energy consumption has increased by more than 26% in the past two decades, the aggregate growth in installed nuclear power has been a scanty 15% (Sovacool, n.d.).

While 22 countries have nuclear power plants, more than half of the world's nuclear power plants are housed in three countries i.e. France, Japan, and the United States. Notably, the average age of development of new nuclear power reactors has increased to 24 years given the declining investment in further development of nuclear power reactors. The decline in investments in further development of nuclear power plants and reactors is also attributed to the unresolved challenge of identifying permanent geologic repositories for utilized nuclear fuel. Moreover, the nuclear power industry is characterized by the increased cost of decommissioning aged nuclear power plant and facilities, which has hindered the appeal of nuclear power in countries that house nuclear power plants. From a social point-of-view, the decline of nuclear power is suddenly uncertain and characterized by various challenges at a time when the total energy consumption is increasing throughout the globe.

The other social aspect that has hindered the growth of nuclear power industry is the emergence and growth of social movement organizations that campaign for the abolition of nuclear power, especially the development and growth of new nuclear power plant and facilities. These social movement organizations have emerged in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident that had devastating impacts on people's lives and demonstrated the inherent dangers of nuclear power (Satoh et al., 2014, p.178). While these social movements have not contributed to closure of nuclear power plants, they have been successful in changing people's or the public's opinion regarding nuclear power or energy.

Political Dimension in Nuclear Energy

Nuclear power policy is in the political domain, and in many countries public sentiment affects the political domain. So there are issues raised with respect to the perceptions that publics and governments have, and whether or not those perceptions are responsible for the decline of nuclear power. Two issues in particular are whether disasters such as Fukushima impact public policy, and whether climate change and the need to transition away from fossil fuels is helping to change public perceptions about nuclear power, and its role in the power mix of a given nation.

Another issue that has arisen in the course of researching the subject is the handling of nuclear waste. Public perception is not all that relevant to this issue -- while there are no studies on the subject, it seems reasonable to conclude that few members of the general public understand…

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