“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our thinking. Thus, we are drifting toward catastrophe beyond conception. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive”- Albert Einstein
I believe “the substantial new manner of thinking” Mr Einstein talked about is increasing interest in nuclear safety and arms control.
Nuclear is the world’s second largest contributor of low carbon power after hydroelectricity providing 10% of global electricity generation. Despite its importance, there is a low level of interest, which is not unconnected with the neglect that pervades vital sectors around the world. A study by IPSOS MORI in 2017 revealed that many people around the world are ignorant about many vital topics. This startling revelation is exponentially high in the nuclear sector where years of neglect have left many disinterested. The United Nations report that over 500 million weapons is currently in circulation around West Africa further highlights the importance of this year’s essay topic The burden of this research paper lies in exploring a case study and identifying some smart measures that will stimulate interest in nuclear safety and arms control around the world.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Interest according to Cambridge dictionary is the feeling of wanting to give your attention to something or of wanting to be involved with and to discover more about something.
Nuclear safety is defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency as the achievement of proper operation conditions, prevention of accidents or mitigation of accident consequences, resulting in protection of workers, the public and the environment from undue radiation hazards.
Arms control is a term for international restrictions upon the development, production, stock piling, proliferation and usage of small arms, conventional weapons, and weapons of mass destruction.
CASE STUDY 1
Two decades ago while I was a pupil in a local primary school in Nigeria, discussions tilting towards nuclear safety and arms control were vague to me due to the neglect of the subject matter by majority of the public. Since my tutors, the education curriculum and society never braced up for change after series of nuclear accidents, my peers and I were starved of this vital knowledge. Same can be said of my peers scattered across other geographical regions of the world. This neglect birthed the unwarranted use of firearms and explosives in recent times. Even at the point of choosing a career path towards the end of my secondary school education, many a students opted for medicine, engineering, law and other prestigious profession while abandoning the nuclear sector that is capable of causing human extinction. Information available to me reveals that none of my peer pursued a career in the field of nuclear safety neither was it a matter discussed among many Nigerians during pep talks. As fate had it, I am privileged to tutor some young Nigerians at a local school in my community. Having been a victim of neglect, I never wished the same for my students. This prompted me to take up the responsibility of stimulating an interest in nuclear safety among my students through an awareness campaign in July 2021. During this period, I explained to the young crop of Nigerians the concept of “nuclear energy”. Although it sounded strange, they were hooked unto the discussion when I narrated the devastating effect of nuclear energy if corrupt individuals were left to control the sector. The example of the Japan nuclear incident further aroused anger and pity in the looks of these kids who I guessed wished such never had occurred. I told them that for the world to be at peace there was a need for morally upright people to take over the affairs of the nuclear sector since leaving it in the hands of corrupt officials may plunder the human race into extinction in no distant time. The spirit of my students now was lightened as I made a call for those who will be willing to enrol into the nuclear sector. About 26% of the participants expressed interest in embarking in a career in the nuclear sector. With this statistics, a sigh of relief ran through my spine as I was convinced that the future of nuclear safety was assured and can be further increased if productive awareness campaigns are organized across nations of the world.
CASE TUDY 2
Arms control to some extent was effective during my childhood days but due to the neglect that spilled from the nuclear sector, reverse is the case presently. It was rare to see unlicensed individuals with firearms during that period but presently, teenagers who ought to bury their heads in school libraries parade an array of sophisticated weapons that even the militaries of their countries do not have access to. Many in possession of these arms resort to armed robbery, kidnapping, banditry, cultism and terrorism. The United Nations raised an alarm over the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons in Nigeria. Although reliable data of the number of these weapons currently circulating is unavailable, analyst estimates that about 70% of the 500 million weapons circulating in West Africa is domiciled in Nigeria. This is possible because the firearms laws in place is obsolete and ineffective in the face of the 21st century security challenges. According to BBC Pidgin, a female student of Government Secondary School Cross River, Nigeria in February 2021 carried a locally made gun to school with the intention of shooting her teacher who had earlier asked her to cut her coloured hair previously. Alarm was raised by the principal of the school, which prompted people around to seize the gun and hand her over to the security for further investigation. Under the Nigerian law, no individual is expected to be seen with Ak-47 except the military officers but this is barely in practice as many a person’s move freely in Nigerian forests with firearms at will. As a measure to enforce arms control, Nigeria president, Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly ordered the military to shoot on sight, anyone seen with Ak-47 rifle in the bush.
Barry Kolodkin, “What is Arms control? About.com, US Foreign policy. The New York Times Company” Retrieved 20 August 2021.
IAEA Safety Glossary-Version 2.0 September 2006
Chalmers, David (1997). The conscious Mind: In search of a Fundamental Theory. Oxford: Oxford University press .pp. 225 ISBN 978-0195105537
Macmillan Dictionary Publishers Limited. Retrieved 2021-07-12