Week 7 Project Proposal

Nuclear Power: Accidents and Social Views

This project will aim to examine the link between nuclear power accidents and society’s view on nuclear power. Although it may seem that nuclear energy is a concept deeply rooted in hard sciences, it is intrinsically tied to society and politics, in part due to its history and the hand it may have in shaping the future of humans. It is easy to imagine that there is a link between nuclear power plant incidents and the public’s waning confidence in it but it will be interesting to see just how the wording (and writing) surrounding this power source is altered. 

This analysis will be done through distant reading of articles in the respective years pre and post disaster. The articles focused on will be scientific papers from journals but there is potential to analyze news articles, websites, and general consumer fiction. Currently, it is the plan to primarily centre this project around the Three Mile Island incident as it is predicted to have a noticeable change in how nuclear energy is addressed and there should be an appreciable amount of literature in the years surrounding its occurrence. Medical articles will be excluded due to the fact that they discuss nuclear technology in a very different context than the technology surrounding nuclear energy. Other specific nuclear research may need to be discarded from the search as there is research that goes beyond nuclear energy itself, namely the other elementary particles.

Currently, the analysis tool will be Voyant and the visualization tool, Timeline on knightlab.com. I use the term currently, only to account for the fact that other tools may be introduced or found that could also be applied to the project. Voyant should allow the tact of distant reading to be applied and to make note of words used more commonly during one era as compared to another. The UNBC library should suffice for production of this content although google scholar may also be an adequate resource as well. Both of these tools will however, require more investigation in order to problem solve how to expedite the process of collecting the information to be analyzed, namely titles of articles (and hopefully abstracts). Currently a lot of ground work will need to be done in order to organize the information and present it in a readable way to Voyant. There is also a potential to find a pre-gathered collection of articles pertaining to nuclear energy and technology but thus far one has not been discovered.

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