2021 Nuclear Safety and Engineering Ethics

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Nuclear Engineering
Kato Yukitaka  Sagara Hiroshi  Ooba Kyoko  Yoshizawa Atsufumi  Matsui Ryota 
Course component(s)
Lecture    (ZOOM)
Day/Period(Room No.)
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Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
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Course description and aims

This course is not limited to just the course component, but also focuses on why we learn and acquire ethics, which contributes to later improvements. Students learn about ethics necessary for research, development, and operations involved with nuclear power. By lecturing on ethical decision making, and what is needed for taking actions based on this decision making, and offering hypothetical and real examples in the research, development, and operations phases, students gain an understanding of the relationship nuclear power technology has with society, and learn how best to fulfill their responsibility as an actor in the nuclear power technology field.
Because this course promotes ethical behavior of scientists and engineers, we place important on offering not just an analog lecture format, but also group discussions among classmates and class discussions between instructor and students, providing students with the greatest possible time for thinking on their own.

Student learning outcomes

Students will acquire the following knowledge and skills from taking this course.
1) Understand from what values (ideas) nuclear power technology developed and expanded.
2) Understand ethical decision making methods and be able to implement them in real instances.
3) Understand the necessity and importance of having ethical values for oneself, and express in one's own words how to fulfill one's responsibility.


Scientists ethics, Engineer ethics, Case studies, Risk-communication, out-reach activity, resilience engineering, safety culture

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Held in a mix of lecture format and discussion format. Depending on the content, lecture format may dominate in one class, or discussion format in another, but overall 60% lecture format is planned.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Target of this class : Ethics in research development and safety culture Understand the need for ethics view in R&D, safety culture, and security culture.
Class 2 Ethical decision for nuclear development: Society Code of Ethics, Seven-steps-guide Researches for nuclear bomb development and Ethics Has strong ethical values and ethical decision making regarding nuclear power development. Understanding the difficulty of ethics from the case of atomic bomb development.
Class 3 Basics and theories of behavioral ethics Understand the difference between traditional ethics (normative ethics) and behavioral ones.
Class 4 Nuclear power plant accidents / troubles and ethics Can explain accidents and troubles at NPPs from an ethical point of view.
Class 5 Positive ethics and resilience engineering Understand the basic ideas of positive ethics and resilience engineering.
Class 6 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident and Resilience Engineering -Learning from the accident Can explain what was learned from the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Class 7 Importance of outreach activities in nuclear technology Ethics as an improvement goal Can explain importance of outreach activities in nuclear technology. Have the intention to improve the ethics.

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


No. However, it is recommended to read related books published from academic societies.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Hand out would be passed occasionally.

Assessment criteria and methods

Evaluated based on short report (70%) in each lecture and the final report (30%).

Related courses

  • NCL.F451 : Nuclear Engineering Science I
  • NCL.U507 : International Relations of Nuclear Technology

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)


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