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On a calm afternoon in March 2011, a force-nine earthquake jolted the Pacific Ocean seabed east of Japan. Forty minutes later, a tsunami 21 metres high crashed onto the coast of Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate prefectures. Towns collapsed, villages were destroyed, and 16,000 people were swept away. The earthquake and tsunami also resulted in another terrifying calamity — explosions and meltdowns at a nuclear plant near the city of Fukushima.

On a calm afternoon in March 2011, a force-nine earthquake jolted the Pacific Ocean seabed east of Japan. Forty minutes later, a tsunami 21 metres high crashed onto the coast of Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate prefectures. Towns collapsed, villages were destroyed, and 16,000 people were swept away. The earthquake and tsunami also resulted in another terrifying calamity – explosions and meltdowns at a nuclear plant near the city of Fukushima.

Fallout from Fukushima tells the story of Japan's worst nuclear disaster, and the attempts to suppress, downplay, and obscure its consequences. Former diplomat Richard Broinowski travelled into the irradiated zone to speak to those affected and to find out why authorities delayed warning the public about the severity of the radiation. Combining interviews, research, and analysis, he reveals the extent of the disaster's consequences: the ruinous compensation claims faced by electricity supplier TEPCO; the complete shutdown of Japan's nuclear reactors; and the psychological impact on those who, unable to return to their farms and villages, may become permanent nuclear refugees.

In this illuminating and persuasive account, Broinowski puts this nuclear tragedy in context, tracing the path back through Tokyo, Three Mile Island, and Chernobyl. Examining what the disaster will mean for the international nuclear industry, he explores why some countries are abandoning nuclear power, while others – including Australia, through its export of uranium – and continue to put their faith in this dangerous technology.

'The definitive analysis of the Fukushima accident . . . If you are tempted to see a role for nuclear energy, you should read this book.' Professor Ian Lowe, AO

Reviews

The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown that brought Japan close to collapse in the days and weeks that followed 11 March 2011 also helped prise open a window into the way that for more than five decades high officials of state had colluded to create, cosset, and expand the nuclear industry, minimising safety concerns and evading democratic supervision. The result was a crisis of a depth and complexity hitherto unknown, from which author Broinowski doubts that the Japanese industry can recover ... His book offers a lucid guide to the events and their implications, not only for Japan but also for the world

Gavan McCormack, Emeritus Professor, Australian National University

The definitive analysis of the Fukushima accident and its technical, economic, social, and political implications ... If you are tempted to see a role for nuclear energy, you should read this book

Professor Ian Lowe AO, President of the Australian Conservation Foundation

A much-needed wake-up call to the nightmare scenarios that can evolve when nuclear power goes wrong, even in a technologically advanced society. This book should be read by all those with an interest in our energy future

Dr Sue Wareham OAM, Member of the Management Committee in Australia, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781922070166

    September 26, 2012

    Scribe Publications

    288 pages

    RRP $27.99

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