Engineering ethics case studies uk

Dena Plemmons and Michael Kalichman, Case studies are a tool for discussing scientific integrity. Although one of the most frequently used tools for encouraging discussion, cases are only one of many possible tools. Many of the principles discussed below for discussing case studies can be generalized to other approaches to encouraging discussion about research ethics. Cases are designed to confront readers with specific real-life problems that do not lend themselves to easy answers.

Engineering ethics case studies uk

A nuclear meltdown in one of the reactors caused a fire that sent a plume of radioactive fallout that eventually spread all over Europe. Chernobyl nuclear reactor plant, built at the banks of Pripyat river of Ukraine, had four reactors, each capable of producing 1, MWs of electric power. On Engineering ethics case studies uk evening of April 25tha group of engineers, planned an electrical engineering experiment on the Number 4 Reactor.

Engineering ethics case studies uk

With their little knowledge on Nuclear physics, they thought of experimenting how long turbines would spin and supply power to the main circulating pumps following a loss of main electrical power supply. Following is an image of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. What Led to the Disaster? Let us now see what led to the disaster.

The reactor unit 4 was to be shut down for routine maintenance on 25 April But, it was decided to take advantage of this shutdown to determine whether, in the event of a loss of station power, the slowing turbine could provide enough electrical power to operate the main core cooling water circulating pumps, until the diesel emergency power supply became operative.

The aim of this test was to determine whether cooling of the core could continue in the event of a loss of power. Due to the misconception that this experiment belongs to the non-nuclear part of the power plant, it was carried out without a proper exchange of information between the testing department and the safety department.

Hence the test started with inadequate safety precautions and the operating personnel were not alerted to the nuclear safety implications of the electrical test and its potential danger. For the test to be conducted, the reactor has to be stabilized at about MW prior to shut down, but it fell down to MW due to some operational phenomenon.

Later, the operator working in the night shift committed an error, by inserting the reactor control rods so far. This caused the reactor to go into a near-shutdown state, dropping the power output to around 30 MW. Since this low power was not sufficient to make the test and will make the reactor unstable, it was decided to restore the power by extracting the control rods, which made the power stabilize at MW.

This was actually a violation to safety law, due to the positive void co-efficiency of the reactor. Positive void coefficient is the increasing number of reactivity in a reactor that changes into steam.

The test was decided to be carried out at this power level. Actually, the reactors were highly unstable at the low power level, primarily owing to the control rod design and the positive void coefficient factors that accelerated nuclear chain reaction and the power output if the reactors lost cooling water.

The following image shows the reactor 4 where the experiment was conducted. This picture was taken after everything was restored. In fact, it did not adequately power the water pumps and without the cooling water the power level in the reactor got surged.

The water pumps started pumping water at a slower rate and they together with the entry to the core of slightly warmer feed water, may have caused boiling void formation at the bottom of the core.

OEC - Some Recent Engineering Ethics Cases That Have Come to the IEEE

This, along with xenon burn out, might have increased the power level at the core. The power level was then increased to MW and continued to rise.

The fuel elements were ruptured and lead to steam generation, which increased the positive void coefficient resulting in high power output.

The high power output alarmed the engineers who tried to insert all the control rods, which is a conventional procedure done in order to control the core temperature. But these rods got blocked half the way, because of their graphite tip design.

So, before the control rods with their five-meter absorbent material, could penetrate the core, graphite tips simultaneously entered the core which facilitated the reaction to increase, causing an explosion that blew off the 1,ton heavy steel and concrete lid of the reactor, consequently jamming the control rods, which were halfway down the reactor.The purpose of case studies in general is to provide us with the context—the technical details—of an engineering decision in which an ethical principle may have been violated.

Discover new things. Journals, books and case studies - a library of real world research at your fingertips. ethics ethics support cases safety hotline respirator air bags IEEE intensive care unit exit lights wrongful discharge tanks An carlier, shorter version of this paper was presented at the International Conference on Ethics in Engineering and Computer Science, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, March 21–24, , and can be accessed.

Boulting is a multi-disciplined engineering solutions provider, operating in a diverse range of industry sectors in the UK and internationally. Case studies are one of the most prominent means of engaging engineering students in ethics.

Highly visible cases, particularly disaster cases, are commonly used.

Engineering ethics case studies uk

11,12 Although course- specific learning objectives should drive the pedagogical strategy employed by engineering. The popularity of empirical methods in software engineering research is on the rise. Surveys, experiments, metrics, case studies, and field studies are examples of empirical methods used to.

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