To be able to utilize safely the incomparably powerful energy source — nuclear power — through highly advanced science and technology, the INSS promotes its research activities on two fronts — technology and society. It is necessary in science and technology aspect to research into mega-sized equipment for nuclear power generation, but it is also necessary to study human and sociological aspects in conceptualizing, designing, constructing, operating, managing and maintaining such equipment. The world of physical matters in the form of the equipment is inseparably interwoven with the world of human beings who utilize the equipment. It is therefore impossible to single out either world in attempting to reduce the risk of using nuclear power.
While the world of physical matters is governed by regularity that is predictable to certain extent, matters related with human beings and organizations are too complex and irregular to be adequately predicted. Attempts to obtain favorable results have often failed or brought about unexpected consequences. To be able to realize safety, resilience and reliability, we have to make our utmost efforts in addressing these complex, irregular, hard-to-predict challenges through diverse resources in human sciences and social sciences. We need to proceed with researches for cultivating the culture for safety and minimize possible risks through best collection of knowledge in academic fields including psychology, social psychology, sociology, social survey and ethnography as well as novel and innovative approaches.
Along with risks possibly occurring from use of nuclear power, there are risks arising from not using nuclear power, and we must also advance research into the latter risks. They may include shortage in domestic energy resources, increased energy costs, deteriorated economic growth base, and impact on national and energy security, and these are risks unique to energy situations in Japan. We have to promote availability of energy resources from a flexible, wider viewpoint in order to address the above-mentioned risks as well as medium- and long-term problems such as global environmental change, increasing power demand around the world, and ever intensifying competition for energy resources. It is thus critical to enhance safety of nuclear power. Possibility of risks can never be completely eliminated, but efforts for eliminating possible risks will help mitigate them and turn them into manageable ones. We should proceed with well-organized research activities, collect empirical data, consider possible options and then choose optimal one for our society. We therefore need to send our knowledge and information as an easy-to-understand message that can help achieve social consensus about our realistic choice.
Research Center and Project
Research Center for
Human FactorsResearch on improvement of safety and reliability by utilizing nuclear technology information
ProjectResearch on people’s attitudes toward nuclear power generation
ProjectResearch on the economical and ecological influences of nuclear power as a basic source of energy