The Phenomenon of Decreased Usage of Nuclear Energy Essay

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Decreased Usage of Nuclear Energy: A Qualitative Content Analysis

A Dissertation Presented using the Qualitative Content-Analysis

Komi Emmanuel Fiagbe Gbedegan

Christina Anastasia PH-D, Chair

[Committee Name], [Degree], Committee Member

[Committee Name], [Degree], Committee Member

Date Approved

Komi Emmanuel Fiagbe Gbedegan, 2016

A qualitative content analysis will be conducted to explore the phenomenon of decreased usage of nuclear energy at a time when global climate change indicates the need for increased usage of nuclear energy. Qualitative analysis involves obtained data from existing literature is evaluated using processes for interpreting contexts and cases. In this qualitative content analysis, the researcher will use a systematic analysis to identify themes and patterns on decreased nuclear energy usage. The researcher will compare, contrast, and classify the content of qualitative data obtained about this phenomenon. 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, greater understanding of why nuclear is decreasing rather than increasing is the purpose of this proposed study. This qualitative 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. The research will utilize a qualitative content analysis technique to examine the phenomenon of decreased nuclear energy.

Add a Dedication, if desired [Add Acknowledgements]

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 1

Problem Statement 3

Research Objectives 5

Purpose Statement 7

Research Question 7

Research Propositions 7

Theoretical Perspectives 10

Assumptions and Biases 11

Significance of the Study 14

Delimitations 15

Limitations 16

Definition of Key Terms 17

General Overview of the Research Design 18

Summary of Chapter One 21

Organization of the Study 23

Chapter Two: Literature Review 24

Overview of Studies to be Analyzed 27

Review of the Studies 36

Social Dimension in Nuclear Energy 40

Political Dimension in Nuclear Energy 46

Economic Dimension in Nuclear Energy 55

Nuclear Energy and Climate Change 56

Conceptual Framework 64

Summary of Chapter Two 69

Chapter Three: Methodology 72

Research Traditions 72

Research Question 75

Research Propostions 76

Research Design 78

Population and Sample 82

Sampling Procedure 84

Instrumentation 86

Validity 87

Reliability 87

Data Collection 88

Data Analysis 89

Ethical Issues in Research 91

Summary of Chapter Three 92

References 96

List of Figures

[Add List of Figures here]


Chapter One: Introduction


This research proposal is for a qualitative content analysis on the phenomenon of decreased nuclear energy usage at a time when global climate change indicates the need for its increase share in the global energy mix. The researcher has chosen to conduct a qualitative content analysis on this issue since the phenomenon under investigation requires a more objective analysis of evidence and selected studies. Through qualitative analysis study, the researcher will examine the phenomenon comprehensively and identify themes and patterns that could help reverse the decline of nuclear energy usage. This research methodology is suitable because existing knowledge and literature about the use of nuclear energy is obtained from various studies and surveys that are documented in peer-reviewed journal articles.

When conducting the qualitative content analysis, the researcher will utilize systematic analysis of the contents of gathered data and inductive strategies geared towards the creation of patterns and themes. Themes and patterns relating to the decreased usage of nuclear energy will be identified by comparing, contrasting, and categorizing the content of qualitative data obtained regarding the research problem. In this case, the researcher will rely on secondary sources to identify existing knowledge and literature about the use of nuclear energy. The qualitative content analysis will also involve developing casual explanations from the secondary sources on the issue. The casual explanations will act at the basis for identifying the various issues relating to nuclear energy and its decline in the global energy mix. They will also provide insights regarding the link between these issues and the increasing reluctance to use nuclear power as an alternative source of energy as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1- Qualitative Content Analysis Process (from theory to interpretation)


Coding Agenda



Casual Explanations

Analysis or Interpretation


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/> Phenomenon u nder i nvestigation i.e. Decreased Nuclear Energy Usage

Qualitative content analysis is suitable for the study because of the explanatory nature of the research question. This research issue requires a collection of methodical techniques for resolving obvious contradictions in research findings and translating results from various studies. A typical quantitative research methodology will not be suitable for this study since it would not help in identifying themes and patterns in current literature on this phenomenon of decrease nuclear usage. The existence of numerous studies and research on the issue of declining nuclear energy usage implies that a typical quantitative research would be inappropriate. Therefore, a qualitative content analysis would be ideal to examine this phenomenon in an effective and accurate manner.

Nuclear energy was first harnessed for power in 1954, at the Obninsk scientific city some 110km outside of Moscow (Josephson, 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 of destroying life and saving 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 10% of the world's energy needs. 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 a 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 largely 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. Therefore, many would-be nuclear powers have had trouble getting their reactors built such as 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.

Secondly, nuclear power policy is in the political domain, public administration, and government management domain. The…

Sources Used in Documents:


Alic, J. (2012). Six Things to do with Nuclear Waste: None of them Ideal. Oil Retrieved June 17, 2015 from

Alley, W. & Alley, R. (2013). Too Hot to Touch: The Problem of High-level Nuclear Waste. Review by Konikow, L. (2013). Hydrogeology Journal.

Bauer, N., Brecha, R. & Luderer, G. (2012). Economics of Nuclear Power and Climate Change Mitigation Policies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(42), 16805-16810.

Becker, U., Coppi, B., Cosman, E., Demos, P., Kerman, A. & Milner, R. (2008, November/December). A Perspective on the Future Energy Supply of the United States: The Urgent Need for Increased Nuclear Power. MIT Faculty Newsletter, 21(2). Retrieved from

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