Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cultural Factors and Nuclear Dangers

Japan’s parliamentary inquiry into the causes of the Fukushima nuclear disaster has produced a report that blames a wide range of factors, including several that could apply just as easily to the United States.

Japan’s nuclear plants are regulated by the same government agency charged with promoting nuclear power. There is a culture of secrecy and collusion between the industry and the government that allows real dangers to be covered up. Essentially the same setup found in the United States.

And broadly in Japan, the report said, there is a cultural resistance to questioning authority. This is similar in effect to the American resistance to question convention and tradition. In both countries, these cultural norms, applied to nuclear power, allow unsafe practices to carry on for generations.