Ethical behavior is crucial in every field including engineering. Unethical behavior in engineering can lead to serious negative consequences during construction or several years after the construction work is done, which can involve the death and/or injury of several people depending on the application. In particular, concealing or helping in concealing a defect in a construction is an unethical behavior that has been known to lead to serious negative consequences. Such a behavior is quoted as the main cause of the nuclear disaster involving the Dai-Ichi Reactor No. 4 (Bloomberg 1-2). This paper criticizes the allegations by a Fukushima engineer, Tanaka, and evaluates the implications of the action.
Tanaka indicates that he helped to conceal a major flaw on the steel vessel that was housing the reactor of the nuclear plant. The move was aimed at saving the company, Hitachi, about $250 million because the vessel was deformed beyond recommended level, during its construction, implying it would have to be replaced. In particular, the vessel walls were warped beyond regulations and Tanaka worked on repairing the walls. It is apparent that Tanaka’s and Hitachi’s effort to save the company from becoming bankrupt overshadowed their role to uphold ethics in the field, which resulted to serious breakdown of the Dai-Ichi Reactor No. 4 and release of radioactive waves. The steel vessel was supposed to be the key protector of the reactor, but it was turned to be the weakest point in the reactor. In fact, Tanaka calls the vessel a “time bomb” implying that it was prone to collapse and at a major magnitude (Bloomberg 1).
The unethical behavior, by Tanaka, saved the company from becoming bankrupt, which means that it had short term benefits. However, such a move had a long term and serious negative impact on the safety of people and the entire country since it eventually resulted to deaths and radioactive emissions. Further, the move had long term negative impacts on the economy since it resulted to the destruction of the vessel and the entire plant.
Bloomberg. Fukushima Engineer Says He Helped Cover Up Flaw at Dai-Ichi Reactor No. 4, March 22, 2011.