Nuclear weapons have catastrophic effects due to their destructive power. As it is impossible to control their bad effects on both the people and environment, nuclear abolition is considered as a humanitarian necessity to protect the survival of humanity. However, some argues that it is ethical for engineers to develop nuclear weapons for the purpose of national defence.
Main stakeholders are comprised of nuclear weapon companies, population, and government. Companies want to increase production to make more money. Population hopes to live in a safe environment and the government’s main interest is to protect own country against foreign invasion and threat. The relevant values should include national sovereignty and territorial integrity, public welfare, world peace, environment and integrity of the engineer. The disputed fact can be whether the nuclear weapons should still exist in the world. Options for actions include (1) Use nuclear deterrence as an important instrument for security. (2) Every country gives up the nuclear weapon at the same time.
From the theory of utilitarian, one should choose those actions that result in the greatest happiness of people. This means that when we have multiple choices, a decision that can increase the utility of people should be selected. Total utility (happiness)should be maximized in the population. As everyone in the world pursues peace, people will feel happier if there are fewer wars and deaths.
Nuclear deterrence means that country A is unlikely to attack country B if A knows that B has nuclear weapons. Deterrence is successful if country A is convinced by the threat of retaliation. In this case the maximum utility is achieved.
As the superpower’s nuclear monopoly is broken, any nuclear state cannot act rashly to wage a worldwide war. Consequently, the risk of world-destroying nuclear war was relatively low. During the Cold War, the atomic bomb created a balance of terror. The two superpowers (America and Soviet Union) all have a large amount of nuclear arsenals. They never fought each other directly as it is likely that all of human civilization was destroyed by the war. The fact that no atomic bombs have been dropped since 1945 shows that powerful weapons creates a kind of peace. Some hegemonic countries wage a local war to safeguard national interests. Weapons that are not specified by the international atomic agency are used such as deleted uranium.
Consequently, nuclear radiation spreads to the world. In this case, the non-nuclear weapon states realize that it is important to establish plans to safeguard security.
From the theory of deontology. Deontology focus on whether the action is right or wrong instead of analyzing the consequences. As nuclear weapons are designed to kill people, it is morally wrong to produce them.
The global balance of nuclear weapons can reduce the chance of large-scale aggression and escalation of war. As a result, nuclear deterrence makes the country safer. So it is ethically for engineers to continue developing nuclear weapons as they do the best for the most people in the end.