Technology-Society Relationship, Nuclear Power Technological Advancement and Role of Professional Engineer in Safe Technology Delivery Abstract

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Technology-SocietyRelationship, Nuclear Power Technological Advancement and Role ofProfessional Engineer in Safe Technology Delivery


Inthe modern times, technology development and advancement has become akey aspect in each and every society all over the globe. Technologyapplication has become an integral element in all careers. Thisincludes even the engineering docket which has proved to be one ofthe important developments both in the society as well as individuallives. There are different approaches as to what is engineering?’and its coupe towards the society demands. Engineering is all aroundthe people as it helps in development and delivering of consumergoods, used in building of highway networks, making artificial heartvalves, used in imaging technology, among many other aspects in whichit’s deployed to improve society’s quality of life. In shortengineers and engineering makes possible for the individuals andsociety at large to enjoy quality life. This paper is a researchedreport addressing the relationship between technology and society inparticular addressing the duty of professional engineers to safetydelivers technology advancement of the society. The paper will alsofocus on nature of technological advancement in any chosenengineering field or disciplines. The environmental impact of thetechnology, ethical aspects and finally the safety aspects related tothe engineering technology in question.


Thefield of engineering has been made more effective throughtechnological advancement that has been experienced in the modernsociety. This has in turn led to the aspect of engineering technologybeing put into practice. In a simple definition, an engineeringtechnologist can be referred as a specialist who dedicates his timeand resources towards development, designing and implementation ofengineering and technology. On the other hand, engineering is definedas the application of science for the common improvement of people’slives. One of the major engineering advancement that has been a greatbreakthrough in human life is the use of nuclear technologies towardsimprovement of people’s lives globally. The central focus of thedifferent field of engineering in existence is the use of scientificknowledge to meet the different societal needs, as it connects purescience to society, and in turn it has the societal responsibility(Gonzaleznp).

Despitethe numerous beneficial developments, coined by engineeringadvancement, various engendering professionals are faced withdifferent challenges such as the environmental impact as well as itssafety implication to the people. One of the engineeringbreakthroughs that has brought along divided views in reference tothe technology development is the use of nuclear technologies fordifferent purposes such as a source of power, military use amongother uses. Nucleartechnologies provide a new source of electric power and newcapabilities in medical research and imaging as well as forunwarranted military use (Ramana134).

Technologyand Society

Technologicaland scientific progresses are some of the main driving forces behindsocietal development. Science and technology are two terms that gohand in hand, and which has formed the foundation forms thefoundations for progress in society, and in turn has helped to makepeople’s lives more prosperous. Technology has had differentimpacts to a society. However, the impacts have not been limited tothe improvement of the material aspects but have on the other handhad an effect on the paradigms in which any given society operates.It can be said that, science and technology is the best thing that asociety could ask for (Webster64).

Sincethe era of the industrial revolution, scientific progress hascontinued to be a direct reliance of people. Different sectors havetremendously benefited from the advancement and adoption of scienceand technology. For example sectors such as energy, communication andinformation, physical science, health science among other key sectorsthat directly affects the quality of human life. Technology hasaccelerated the growth of the more advanced economies in quite a fewsocieties. In summary, science, technology and society have a strongand healthy relationship amongst themselves. Science is the basicaspect of technology developments, while both of them are the keyreasons behind the creations and development of healthy societiesglobally (Yuanxu 875).

Technologyadvancement has been primarily been converted into human use by theengineering professionals, who have been on the forefront inconverting the science and technology development into positive humanuse. This in turn places a task for the professional engineers toprovide the society with safety technology development. Technologyadvancements have both merits and demerits, and in turn the differentengineering professionals should ensure safety passage of thetechnology into human use of societal usage. The engineering docketshave different line of professionals or disciplines. For example,there is mechanical engineering, automotive, chemical, computing,civil, environmental, electrical, health and safety, nuclear, marine,manufacturing, power engineering among many other forms ofengineering. Each of the Engineering is responsible to defined rolestowards improvement of human life (Winstonet al 56).

Differentbranches of engineering are interrelated and in turn theprofessional’s works together to produce the best product for humanuse. I.e. power, environment and nuclear may work together to ensure,the type of power produced for societal use is the best with minimalnegative impact to the environment. This in turn explains the ideathat, professional Engineers are responsible for safety delivery oftechnology to the society for better quality of life. One of themajor technological advancement in the world of power is theconversion of nuclear power into a form that is used by people. Thisis the task of nuclear engineers (Robinson, John, and Chang 940).

TechnologicalAdvancement in Nuclear Engineering

Inthe modern world, the demand for power from the people and forindustrial use has been on the rise, this has in turn led to theinvention of other sources of power apart from the old and heavilyrelied power source of the hydro-power and the solar power. Theresult has led to the use of nuclear power as an alternative sourceof power for the increasing demand for power both for domestic andindustrial use. In a nutshell, nuclear engineering is a sector ofengineering that entails the applications of the fission and fusionof atomic nuclei towards the production of energy and other uses suchas medical use of nuclear technology. Professionals in nuclearengineering have varying tasks such as provision of future electricalsystems in developed and developing nations, designing of powerstations, applying of the radiations in medical benefits, as well ascontributing to national security through protection of the societyfrom nuclear proliferation (5.0 Nuclear Technologies and NuclearHistory 100).

Sincethe commencement of the use of nuclear power by people, differenttechnology development or advancements has been coined making nuclearpower more useful/helpful as well as improving society’s safetywhen using the nuclear power. One of the major technology advancementin nuclear engineering is advancement form the use of Generation Inuclear power plants to the generation IV of the plants. Currently,in the United States, the power plants in using are the GenerationIII, which have advantages over the previous Generation I and II. Oneof the advantages is that, every new generation of the power plantscomes with improved safety systems which in turn protect the societyfrom exposure to the radiation powers. The fourth generation isestimated to be implemented in the coming years which have increasedmerits of the predecessor generations. Some advantages of thegeneration IV over the other entails highly economical, enhancedsafety, and reduced volume of waste among other advantages.

Inaddition to technological advancement in terms of production, therehas also been an improved and increased use of nuclear power in andin different sectors such as medical and industrial use not only bythe developed nations, but the technology is now being deployed bydeveloping countries to reduce overreliance on hydro-power sources.The use of nuclear power continues to escalate among the societiesfor different purposes. In the modern society, there are diversepositive uses of nuclear power, such as in medicine, i.e. use ofradiation, and radioisotopes in treatment of varying medicalconditions. Other sectors that have benefited immensely from thenuclear power is industrial use such as tracers, it’s also used inAgriculture and food, insect control, preservation of food, powersupply among other good uses. However, there have been other negativeuses of nuclear technology such as making of explosives i.e. bombs,and nuclear weapons which have been used in mass destruction.

EnvironmentalImpact of Nuclear Technology

Theeffect of the nuclear power to the environment results from processessuch as operations, nuclear fuel cycle as well as impacts fromnuclear related accidents. One of the major concerns with nuclearpower production is the radioactive effluents that are released tothe environment from the power plants’ exposure to high levels ofradioactive material by the human’s poses a threat to both humanand animal life. Prolonged accumulation of nuclear waste in anecosystem renders the ecosystem inhabitable for people, plants andanimals (Ramana 140). In addition, the production of nuclear powerposes a threat to the population surrounding the plants and peopleworking in the plants. Numerous studies have shown that, peopleliving near such power stations as well as people working in theplants have a higher rate of suffering from different cancers intheir life. This has been attributed to exposure to accidentalrelease and exposure to the radiations and nuclear wastes (5.0Nuclear Technologies and Nuclear History 90).

However,despite the negative impact to the environment from the nuclear powerproduction, there have also been numerous environmental benefits fromthe process of nuclear power production. One of the positives isthat, the nuclear power production is connected with the lowestemission of greenhouse gases or air pollutants. This has in turnextended to the protection of the wildlife and the habitats. Comparedto other sources of energy, the nuclear power production has favoredsustainable development in addition to clean electricity fortransportation. The use of atomic bombs in Japan has been a source ofheated debates as to whether nuclear should be allowed to be used asa weapon (Childress 6).

EthicalAspects Related to Nuclear technology

Theproduction and use of nuclear technology have over time brought alongdivided opinions and controversy over the uses of the technology. Theapplication of this technology as a source of energy and as aninstrumental war has been an issue of concern in the modern times.Additionally, the realization that the development and production ofnuclear power are having serious and irreversible effects on theplanet has brought along a new aspect in relations to environmental,ethical debate, as to whether the production of the nuclear should beadhered despite of the threats posed by the process. The massivenegative impact of the accidental leakages from the nuclear plantshas proved life threatening. However, it is clear that, it’simpossible to prevent such occurrences which may be as a result ofnatural disaster or human error. This in turn leads to the idea that,if an event can be termed as uncontrollable, and have threats tolivelihoods of both people, animals and environment acrossgenerations, how can the practice be justified? (Dreicer, Mona, andArian Pregenzer 596).

Ethicalconcerns entail the evil and good aspects related to the productionof the nuclear power. Despite the massive benefits of the nuclearpower difficult issues has emerged from its production and use. Thenuclear waste has posed a threat to aquatic life, and the questionhas emerged as to how the wastes from the plants should be disposed.Is the venture worthy despite the spread of nuclear weapons, unsolvedwaste products, effects on indigenous and poor people, which are allinjustices to today and future human generations? These aspects makethe enterprise into the nuclear power somewhat unethical enterprise.The main questions remain, how much of the power should be producedand for what purposes? Who should be licensed to control the use ofnuclear power for negative aspects? And finally, is the technology ajustifiable source of human development or does it pose more threatsto societal development than before (Ramana 151).

SafetyAspects in Nuclear Technology

Theinception and adoption of technology development have brought alongnumerous concerns one of which is the security of the developments.The safety of the nuclear power technology has been one of the majortools that have controlled the implementation of the technology inmany countries. From the onset, there has been a strong informationand awareness relating to the hazardous effect of nuclear productsand the radioactive materials that are related to the nucleartechnology. One of the major concerns when it comes to safety is theeffort to minimize the likelihoods of accidents as well as to avoidmajor human effects when an accident may occur. In the nucleartechnology, safety&nbspfocuseson unintended conditions or events leading to radiological releasesfrom authorized activities.

Different,measures have been adopted towards the achievement of optimum nuclearsafety the nuclear technology has adopted the ‘defense in depthapproach’. This approach advocates for high-quality design andconstructions in addition, using equipment that isn’t prone tohuman failures and other related problems. Another measure that hasbeen implemented in the nuclear technology to increase the safety iscomprehensive monitoring as well as regular testing in order todetect failures. Safety measure can in turn be measured intoPrevention,Monitoring, and Action (to mitigate consequences of failures). Themain concern of the nuclear technology is to improve people lifequality, this in turn calls for the safety measures to prevent anyrelated measures. Nuclear Technology Professionals have a duty to thesociety to ensure that, the technology advancement is safe for peopleto use. This in turn explains the undeniable role of theprofessionals to the society (Dreicer, Mona, and Arian Pregenzer599).

Conclusionand Recommendations

Technologyhas become one of the most depended upon tool in the modern world.Nevertheless, it’s clear that, the science, technology and societyhave strong relations. This can be summarized as the fact that,science is the basic aspect of technology developments, while both ofthem are the key reasons behind the creations and development ofhealthy societies globally. In addition, the docket of engineeringentails different disciplines, and primarily depends on technologyinnovations and advancement professional engineers are responsiblefor delivering safe technology to the society. Nuclear advancement isone technological advancement that has demanded effectiveimplementation of professionalism to ensure safety to the nuclearpower users, through the nuclear technology, there has been anapplication of technology towards improvement of people’s liveshowever, it’s clear that, the technology is marred with safetyaspects which must be observed for effective and positive realizationof the technology breakthrough.

Theuse of nuclear technology should be advocated, however, the safetymeasures should be the primary measure whether the project can bebeneficial to the society or not. Failure to guarantee safety for thepeople, the project should be abandoned. Professional engineersshould be responsible for safety to the technology users. This wouldin turn ensure safe implementation f technology advancement andbenefit to the society at large. Finally, the relationship betweenscience technology and society cannot be denied but rather should beimproved through provision of safe technology to the people.


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