A fast-paced, riveting account of the nuclear disaster caused by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011, with an explanation of the science behind the crisis as it unfolded

It’s been over thirty years since a reactor in the United States melted down. Some believe this indicates that all safety problems have been addressed and no challenges remain. That’s not “mission accomplished,” it’s just plain luck. The Japanese thought the same thing until their luck ran out.
—FROM FUKUSHIMA

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.

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. (The New Press)

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