The presented paper deals with one of the cases heard by the Supreme Court of the USA. The case resonated with the problem of the nuclear energy use and with the possible effects that it might have on people living near to the nuclear energy plant. In particular, it will discuss the limitations of the laws, as well as the way it involves the judges in the decision-making process.
Generally, it should be stressed that there have been two plants, at one of which serious incident occurred. As a result of it, many people were evacuated, while others had to remain at home for several days. As it turned out, no radiation emission occurred. However, the organization named People Against Nuclear Energy suited the company owning the plants demanding to close them due to the psychological and emotional traumas it causes to the residents of the area.
Considering this, the Supreme Court had to decide whether there was a situation that, in accordance with the National Environment Policy Act, affects the psychological health of the involved people. On the whole, the PANE challenged the finding of the nuclear Regulatory Commission that concluded that the reopening of the reactor would not cause the significant psychological effect or injury on the health of the residents of the area. Unfortunately, the National Environment Policy Act provides that the plant could only be shut down in case the physical impact has been caused by it. The arguments provided by PANE involve the immaterial, and non-physical harm only, which unfortunately does not fall under the scope of this Act. Thus, the sanctions provided by it cannot be applied.
Having considered the case, the Supreme Court has held that in certain cases there is a need to assess the impact of the proposed actions on the psychological health of the citizens. Nevertheless, it has been stressed that the Congress had noted that the proposed actions and their affects should be considered only in case of change occurrence in the physical environment. Since no obvious alterations have occurred in regard to the physical condition, the Court has denied the demands of PANE.
The presented case raises debates regarding the final decision of the Court that has obviously disregarded the psychological health of the citizens. Without doubt, nowadays, the emotional and psychological health is as important for people as the physical one. Moreover, there are many cases when the person is physical healthy but still suffers from the numerous psychological factors that prevent him/her from normal and happy life.
On the other hand, the demands of the opponents of the nuclear energy and their ultimate satisfaction could have led to the precedent that would enable the courts to shut down the enterprise due to the mere fact of its detrimental psychological effect on the humans. There are thousands of ventures across the country that might concern the citizens of the particular city or area. Nevertheless, the shutting down of all of them due to the mere concerns would lead to the economic collapse.
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As to the government’s involvement is the solution of the nuclear power issues, it should be stressed that it is not actually socially responsible in this case. The state, as a political institution, should balance the interests of all players, including the businesses, agencies, people, etc. Obviously, the plant serves as the energy source for certain area. However, considering the pressure of the residents of such locations, the government definitely should intervene and, at least, suggest the program that would help the city replace the plant with the alternative energy sources.
It seems that the middle ground in this situation will provide for the adoption of the legal document that will precisely prescribe when the psychological impact should be considered as dangerous as the physical one. Moreover, it should also provide for the determinants that would help identify the effect and measure its volume and scope. Otherwise, the psychological impact of the nuclear plants, as well as similar constructions, will still be ignored by the UAS courts.
In conclusion, it should be stressed that the presented case is important for understanding the collision between the laws and real state of things, as well as for realizing the fact that frequently the courts are bound by the outdated provisions of the law.
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