Lessons learned from the 2011 debacle of the Fukushima nuclear power plant

Toshio Sugiman

The history of nuclear power generation in Japan is analyzed with respect to how the organizational structure of the “nuclear villages,” composed of government, private companies and the academic world, negotiated with the growing technology before the Fukushima accident took place. Although nuclear specialists were aware of the potential for a disaster, that did not prevent the enthusiasm for nuclear. The majority of people trusted that new technology would make life easier. The organizational structure of the village consisted of a triangle in which each of the three groups and sub-groups maintained relationships with each other and with the village as a whole to secure its own share of the economic benefits. Based on the sociological theory of norm, we demonstrate that the structure and nature of the relationships in the village facilitated the acceptance of nuclear power despite the element of threat.

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