Fukushima Meltdown: The World’s First Earthquake-Tsunami-Nuclear Disaster Paperback – Jan 7 2012
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And Mr. Takashi's understanding of radiation science - dosimetry, dispersal, and decay - is poor. He starts his chapter on the effects of nuclear radiation on living organisms by saying that he's not going to use standard metrics or even numbers as a measurement tool, or any unit of measure at all, simply because radioactive decay does not leave the area completely free of radiation, it will only breakdown into an amount infinitesimally close to zero. He makes it clear that even one atom that is radioactive is so dangerous that any use of radiation metrics as a means to understand the impact of radiation on people should simply be thrown out the window. His understanding of the actual effect of radiation on humans just deteriorates from there. And of course, you won't be able miss the giant I TOLD YOU SO draped all over the text.
In the end, it doesn't matter. The book was written 6 weeks after the disaster, and much has happened since then. There are better, more thorough discussions of the tragedy. The best I have found is actually Wikipedia. Now we all know that Wikipedia has impartiality and inaccuracy flaws inherent to their system, but it's quite a step up from Mr. Takashi's work. It is up to date and extremely thorough - you'll gain a lay understanding of the nuclear physics of boiling water reactors, if you haven't already got one. It discusses the impact of radiation on people - and ecosystems - based on actual radiation biology - no "to hell with the numbers" here. And I'm sure to Mr. Takashi's relief, it does NOT leave TEPCO and NISA off the hook. Much like as was the case with the Chernobyl and Mayak disasters, sometimes the western press, with its 100% free press and aggressive investigative journalism, gets the clearer picture of the disaster at hand.
So in summary: Fukushima was a monumental disaster and a tragedy beyond measure, but Mr. Takashi is not the person you want explaining it to you.
That doesn't mean the book isn't valuable in its way, which is to essentially present a series of reasons why the precautions taken to secure other Japanese nuclear plants against damage from earthquakes and tsunamis are inadequate. So far is it goes that information is fine, but given the title of the book, I was expecting something rather different and none of this information was new to me.
As for Tokyo Electric Power, their statement that the tsunami was an unimaginable event was laughable to me when I first heard it back in March. As a small schoolchild, I learned about tsunamis in Japan, and read stories about their great heights and the damage they caused. Everyone is familiar with "The Great Wave" artwork. The pitiful precautions against tsunamis at Fukushima were ridiculous given historical precedent, even for anyone even distantly familiar with that history. So that information is not new to me, (though apparently it was new to TEPCO before the tsunami). The information about the problems regarding nuclear power in tsunami or earthquake prone areas is good for the average reader.
The three stars I am giving the book is more because the title of the book is not really descriptive of the text. I was hoping for an anatomy of the disaster, a chronology of events before and during, and a long term summary of the events after, with radiation levels and information about the local populace and what is happening in the areas - particularly since the American news media have essentially dropped the story. This book is more of a treatise against nuclear power in Japan, with Fukushima as an example. Perhaps someone will write the book I am looking to read.
I wanted to read more about the humane side of having to go through a horrendous earth quake,
A huge tsumai and then a Nuclear reactor melt down.
I can't imagine how horrified the people must have felt. The book is still worth reading,Perhaps we
will learn some day that there are things we can't always control.