On March 11, 2011, an earthquake large enough to knock the earth from its axis sent a massive tsunami speeding toward the Japanese coast and the aging and vulnerable Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power reactors. Over the following weeks, the world watched in horror as a natural disaster became a man-made catastrophe: fail-safes failed, cooling systems shut down, nuclear rods melted.
In the first definitive account of the Fukushima disaster, two leading experts from the Union of Concerned Scientists, David Lochbaum and Edwin Lyman, team up with journalist Susan Q. Stranahan, the lead reporter of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Pulitzer Prize winning coverage of the Three Mile Island accident, to tell this harrowing story. Fukushima combines a fast-paced, riveting account of the tsunami and the nuclear emergency it created with an explanation of the science and technology behind the meltdown as it unfolded in real time. Bolstered by photographs, explanatory diagrams, and a comprehensive glossary, the narrative also extends to other severe nuclear accidents to address both the terrifying question of whether it could happen elsewhere and how such a crisis can be averted in the future.
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David Lochbaum is the head of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Nuclear Safety Project and author of Nuclear Waste Disposal Crisis. He lives in Chattanooga. Edwin Lyman is a senior scientist in the Global Security Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists. He lives in Washington, D.C. Susan Q. Stranahan is the author of Susquehanna: River of Dreams. She lives in Maine. The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world.
"No one with an interest in the present and future of nuclear power in the United States should miss it."
—Los Angeles Times
"There are other books on Fukushima, but the only one covering this ground is Fukushima, which takes a more global and policy-related approach. Told with economy, drama, and scientific accuracy, this book is a must for anyone involved in energy assessment or concerned about nuclear energy issues."
Library Journal (starred review)
"The book is a gripping, suspenseful page-turner finely crafted to appeal both to people familiar with the science and those with only the barest inkling of how nuclear power works. Even with the broad outlines of the story in the public record, the authors have uncovered many important details that never came to light during the saturation-level media coverage."
"Their thriller-like, minute-by-minute chronicle covers every harrowing technical breakdown, backed by briskly informative illuminations of the science underlying the boiling-water reactors and the systems designed to prevent their meltdown. They are equally precise in their coverage of the human side of the story, from the grave dangers confronting the plant’s valiant staff to the scrambling of public officials to the trauma of evacuees as explosions wracked Fukushima and radiation leaks increased. As the crisis at Fukushima continues, this exacting and chilling record of epic failures in risk assessment, regulation, preparedness, and transparency will stand as a cautionary analysis of the perils of nuclear power the world over."
Booklist (starred review)
"Anyone seriously interested in understanding the issues involved in delivering safe’ nuclear energy will be rewarded by reading this book; anybody involved in delivering nuclear power should be required to read it."
Robert Gallucci, president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
"It’s hard to imagine a more comprehensive and compelling account of what happened after an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011. There are lessons in this book for all of us. This book is a must-read for anyone who cares about nuclear power."
Robert J. Rosenthal, executive director of the Center for Investigative Reporting
"A compelling analysis of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima and a pointed challenge to the nuclear industry and its regulators."
Rush Holt, U.S. House of Representatives
"A riveting account of the unfolding of the Fukushima accident that gives the reader a feel for how hard it is to respond to an unprecedented catastrophe in the face of uncertainty."
Victor Gilinsky, former commissioner at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
"Everyone who cares about the Faustian bargain we make for nuclear energy must read this terrifying story."
David Suzuki, co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation and host of The Nature of Things
"This amazing book provides both a blow-by-blow account of the Fukushima accident and an exploration of what needs to be done worldwide to improve nuclear safety. Essential reading, whether you agree with all of its conclusions or not."
Matthew Bunn, professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government
"Gripping and authoritative, Fukushima opens a new chapter in the debate on the difficult and perhaps impossible goal of safe nuclear power."
Alexander Glaser, assistant professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
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