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How and Why the 2011 Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Happened
In March 2011, the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan was hit by an earthquake and resulting tsunami which crippled the plant’s emergency power and cooling systems, resulting in the reactors overheating and the release of significant amounts of radioactive material. The incident was the worst of its kind since the Chernobyl Accident of 1986 and led to suspension of nuclear programmes by a number of countries.
After the accident, on May 24, 2011, a committee, chaired by Yotaro Hatamura (a professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo) was established by the Japanese government to investigate the accident. The committee visited the sites of the Fukushima-1 and 2 nuclear power plants, and interviewed over 700 people, including the Prime Minister and others from the central government and heads of affected local governments, residents and evacuees of the area. A detailed and technical final report was then published – a weighty tome about 8cm thick, containing approximately 1,500 pages of text and figures.
Although Yotaro Hatamura had successfully produced the report, together with the committee’s technical consultants, Seiji Abe and Masao Fuchigami, he had a sense that the real mission was in fact only partly accomplished. They had an obligation to society to make the knowledge acquired in the investigation more readily available to those across the world who might benefit from it.
Together with Naoto Kasahara, a Professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Management at the University of Tokyo, they have teamed up with Elsevier to produce the book The 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident: How and Why It Happened, which distills the essentials from the report. With the help of additional analyses, it also explains what we can learn from this catastrophic accident. In addition, the authors have been free to express their own opinions, which are not found in the government papers.
It is hoped that the information in the book will be of assistance to policy makers deciding whether to continue with nuclear power generation on their agendas or to abandon it. It is also intended to transfer the lessons learned to those working to reduce accidents and disasters elsewhere in the world.
The 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident: How and Why it Happened is due to be published on 15th December 2014. For an exclusive download of chapter 1, check out the PDF below:
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