“Fukushima: The Story of Nuclear Disaster” Book Released

, former co-director | February 12, 2014, 10:20 am EST
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Yesterday we officially released our book Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster, published by New Press and co-authored by Dave Lochbaum and Ed Lyman, and journalist Susan Q. Stranahan. Susan for many years was a journalist with the Philadelphia Inquirer, and was the lead reporter of the Inquirer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident.

fukushima-book-coverThe book provides the most authoritative account to date of what happened during the March 2011 triple reactor-meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. It is based on technical analyses, interviews with the principal players, and information gleaned from thousands of pages of documents obtained from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and other federal agencies, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)—the plant’s owner—and independent Japanese commissions.

In addition to analyzing the disaster, the book ends by discussing the decisions by Japan’s nuclear industry and regulators that set the stage for it to happen, and how a similar disaster could happen here if the NRC doesn’t strengthen safety regulations. While the NRC set up a Task Force to study and draw lessons from Fukushima to improve U.S. safety regulations, it is moving very slowly on considering the Task Force recommendations, and is watering them down as it goes along. That’s not good.

The book is an expert account that isn’t written just for experts. Kirkus Reviews called it “a gripping, suspenseful page turner,” and Publisher’s Weekly called it an “eye-opening exposé … [that] points to the scary fact that America can suffer a Fukushima-type event if critical steps are not taken.”

The book is available through New Press at 20% off (use code FukushimaBook).


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  • Tokyo Electric Admits Withholding Stronitum 90 Readings
    February 11th, 2014 Fukushima – SimplyInfo

    Tokyo Electric has admitted Tokyo Electric knew about the extremely high strontium 90 readings and the issues with Tokyo Electric testing equipment back in July 2013 but did NOT make any of this information public.
    The timing makes the issue even more suspect since the bid for the Olympics was being decided about the same time.

    Tokyo Electric knew of the record high 5 million bq/liter strontium 90 reading in July 2013 but decided it was “inaccurate” and chose NOT to disclose it. Tokyo Electric has had a track record of declaring inconveniently high readings to be inaccurate before. Tokyo Electric did so on an early scope inspection of unit 1′s torus room where Tokyo Electric released the reading but insisted the meter failed.

    Tokyo Electric earlier explanation for the strontium 90 readings being wrong was that Tokyo Electric did NOT know the readings were wrong and gave lower levels to the public. Now Tokyo Electric admits Tokyo Electric knew about the error and what the correct readings were the entire time.

  • Beat

    Thanks for raising the knowledge of what happened and where things went wrong, and for keeping the guard high so that such catastrophees don’t happen too often!

    I would be very interested to know if the book also analyzes what should be done there to minimize the big risks for humanity that are still there, e.g. if a similar earthquake hits again within next 3 or 5 years the fragilized used fuel pools and makes the whole area inaccessible for maintaining the needed cooling ?

    Things there seem still to go very very slowly, and no news of an international scientists advisory group/committee.

    Btw, I wanted to order your book, but it’s only available in the US and in hardcover. Is there also an electronic version of it (EPUB or PDF) ?

    • David Wright

      Thanks for your comment. The book is available on amazon.com in various formats, including for e-readers. The book looks at lessons for the future, but the issue of what should be done to further secure the facilities at Fukushima is unfortunately outside its scope. It’s clearly an important issue.

  • Joe Carson

    I tried to order book using the discount code and got a message “invalid coupon code.”

    • UCS web team

      Should be fixed now, thanks!

  • Kingston

    I write for Japan Times and want to write about your new book and interview you via email.
    Jeff Kingston