Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Case Study: Responses to the Nuclear Accident in Japan
by Sunderland, Mary Brooke, M.A., Prescott College, 2012, 168; 1510720
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis focuses on how nuclear energy systems are impacted in Japan and in the United States by the Fukushima nuclear accident. Based on Yin's methodological approach for case studies (2003), the results of this research and analysis of political, industrial and citizen responses suggest that the Fukushima accident was a catalyst for ongoing change in Japan. With 160,000 citizens still displaced, 300,000 children in radioactive zones, and a decades-long clean up ahead, those affected and the entire Japanese population—which is keeping reactors shut down—are revealing their distrust in the government and industry to safely produce nuclear energy since the Fukushima accident. Japan's energy policy is being rewritten and a renewable energy law has passed, opening the way for a new era of energy transformation.

With nuclear plant construction costs expected to rise after the Fukushima accident, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the first two reactors since the 1970s and the industry has contracted three more plants, in spite of two plants losing investors in the accident's wake. With expediency, these two entities are fighting to revive the U.S. nuclear industry, as the NRC has yet to incorporate nuclear safety upgrades and citizen safety requests were stifled. For further research, questions are: Will Japanese citizen activists maintain lasting changes that have begun in energy policy? Are there aspects of the response in Japan that could transfer to the United States?

Keywords: Fukushima, nuclear, phase out, citizen activism

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Spencer, Jordana DeZeeuw
Commitee: Amster, Randall, Rushbrook, Dereka
School: Prescott College
Department: Humanities
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 50/06M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Asian Studies, Social research, Sociology, Energy
Keywords: Citizen activism, Fukushima, Nuclear, Phase out
Publication Number: 1510720
ISBN: 978-1-267-34995-8
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