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Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster Hardcover – 11 Feb 2014

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Amazon.com: 34 reviews
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Misses the root cause of Fukushima by hiding Onagawa, Fukishima Di Ini, etc. 6 April 2014
By Dr. A. Cannara - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a long-time UCS supporter, I'd hoped for better from the authors. In speaking with Lochbaum in SF last week, I asked why they failed to mention TEPCO's removal of many meters of natural seawall elevation at Fukushima, simply to lower construction costs. His answer, "It was in the draft", but the publisher had a word limit -- really?

I asked further why no mention of the Onagawa plant, ~30 miles closer to the quake center and receiving of a higher tsunami, yet surviving and even housing refugees from the tsunami. No answer.

The "inconvenient truth" for UCS and these authors is that Fukushima demonstrates the safety of well-regulated and implemented nuclear power. TEPCO officers had a long history of malfeasance and collusion with government and regulatory officials. Onagawa, in fact, was designed using Lochbaum's own criterion of: "X plus One" -- design for at least known worst case X and add one more level of safety.

In court, we must swear a 3-part oath. This book fails on two of the parts, at least. If one wants the whole truth and nothing but, read: "Atomic Accidents" by Mahaffey, or...
http colon slash slash tinyurl dot comslash o852xg5 or...
www dot nirs dot org slash fukushima slash naiic_report dot pdf
www dot unis dot unvienna dot org slash unis/en/pressrels/2013/unisinf475 dot html
AAAS Science, Vol 340, p678, 10 May 2013
www dot hiroshimasyndrome dot com slash fukushima-accide
www dot world-nuclear-news dot org slash RS-UN-reports-on-Fukushima-radiation-0204141 dot htmlnt-updates dot html?goback=.gde_117546_member_246407018

This book chose the worst photo of Fukushima's tragedy to put on its cover. Perhaps the corrected edition will at least have Onagawa on its rear cover. And, perhaps they'll find a publisher that allows more words, to allow "the whole truth"?
Dr. A. Cannara
650 400 3071

It doesn't even explain why ~150,000 people ran froom Three-Mile Island -- an AP report that mixed up hydrogen buildup in the plant's vessel with hydrogen bombs. If someone wants
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
should have been titled “Fukushima: a Disaster That Shouldn’t Have Happened” 8 April 2014
By GEORGE ERICKSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster

Except for a few instances, Fuku is an even-handed book. however, careful reading reveals an anti-nuclear bias.

"Fukushima" gave me pause in its brief introduction, where I read that “many in the US, Japan and elsewhere are pushing hard to defend the status quo and hold fast to the assertion that severe accidents are so unlikely that they require scant advance planning.”

Really? How “many” is “many?” And who are these people who oppose advance planning re. accidents?

Chapter 1 describes the events of March 11, the day of the tsunami – and it does it well – but on page 27, a two page insert begins that discusses radiation and its effects on the body. While that’s timely, no mention is made of LNT theory or its flaws, though the subject appears briefly (and inadequately) later in the book.

Chapter 2 is notable for its apparently accurate description of the relationship of Tepco and the Japanese government agencies, which it termed “incestuous.” Moving on, it reviewed events at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, but for some reason neglected to note that Chernobyl lacked a robust containment structure that is required elsewhere in the world - structure that could have greatly reduced the disaster if it had been in place.

Then, on page 48, I learned something new – that “Tepco had been falsifying safety records for years.”

The writers are competent, and their research impressive, but I’d complain that the subject of LNT, which finally showed up on page 216, received little comprehensive attention, and nothing like the information in Robert Hargrave’s Radiation: the Facts, was included. That information is available free from tundracub@mchsi.com.

Furthermore, the authors avoided a golden opportunity to point out that if the Fukushima reactors had been Molten Salt Reactors, there would have been no crisis. Neither did they mention that Tepco’s Onagawa plant on the same coast, which had a much higher seawall, easily survived the event.

Fukushima, though tarred as a nuclear failure, was caused by a long chain of corporate indifference, rule-breaking, penny pinching and lying combined with a government “oversight” panel that failed to do its job.

Grade C book, well written, but flawed by what it should have included, but didn’t.

George Erickson - [...], member- Union of Concerned Scientists, past V P American humanist Assoc.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Well worth the effort to read. But probably not on the NRC's or Utility Industries Top Ten! 22 May 2014
By RJB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Let me start out by giving my qualifications to review this book.
BS and MS in Nuclear Engineering, Senior Reactor Operators License and on-shift management of a large 4 Loop PWR , QA Oversight of both PWR and BWR reactors and over 27 years of experience in the Commercial Nuclear Power Industry.
This book will be a challenge for anyone not in the Industry to chew through but well worth the effort.
The Author's have done a masterful job in collecting data and presentation.
The final summation can be summed up in two phrases, you can't predict the future and no one knows the actual state of the three Reactor Cores at Fukushima.
The Code of Federal Regulations Safety Design Standards do NOT allow for ANY substantial degradation of any of the three Fission Barriers, the Fuel Cladding, Reactor Vessel and lastly the Containment Structure. ALL of the operating Nuclear Rectors in the USA have been designed to those requirements and nothing is designed beyond or what is called, Beyond Design Basis. So when there is substantial degradation of any of the barriers, there was no design to cope as at Fukushima. All of the efforts are attempts to fix this problem but since one cannot predict the future if an event occurs that has not been predicted and prepared for, as at Fukushima, it's a guess as to what happens.
But since the Physics of Fission Product decay do NOT CHANGE, when you lose cooling the result is inevitable, the Core melts. Not much is really known about what occurs after that happens and the intense radiation fields that result from the release of Fission Products make ANY actual determination deadly to humans.
Consequently the book points out correctly that we really don't know the state of the three Reactor Cores at Fukushima.
This is probably NOT a book that will viewed positively by the NRC or the Nuclear Utility Industry.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
From page-turner to in-depth look at the underlying dynamics 14 April 2014
By inmaine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I must say, I was surprised to see the number of negative comments about the book, and a bit amused, too.
I'll say up front that Dave Lochbaum and Ed Lyman, in their UCS roles, were two of the most dependable U.S. sources of information and perspective (such as was possible) in the early aftermath of the accident -- though I'd have to attribute the flow and high quality of the writing to their being joined by Susan Stranahan, the reporter who most prominently covered Three Mile Island.
The comments about this being a biased book are a bit over the top. To say it doesn't present the industry's side is to acknowledge not having read very carefully. The concerns of the industry are most definitely laid out, but interwoven in a context that responds to them substantively and in spades. If you want clearly-labeled chapters presenting both sides separately, read something else.
The person who said the first 1/3 of the book was the story and implied the rest was kind of boring got the first part right. I found the chronology of the accident from many points of view (plant workers, TEPCO, both governments and their agencies) to be absolutely a page-turner, if a bit of a "Russian novel" with all the characters and equipment. But the key to understanding why Fukushima happened is what is made crystal clear in the rest of the book.
It all comes down to the consequences of the cozy relationship between regulators (at least at the top levels) and industry and the ambiguous nature of regulators-who-promote. But the authors don't make this as a simplistic assertion. They follow the history of regulators and industry, understandably focusing on the U.S., because their stated concern, ultimately, is responding to the question "Can it happen here?"
They go into detail on the concerns of NRC staff, the frequent suppression of these in the commissioners' final rulings, and the moves by industry to make sure nothing fundamental changes. They cover the history
* of failure to take the concept of "beyond-design-basis" events seriously,
* of industry's pattern of "getting out in front" of regulation with band-aid "solutions" that stunningly fail to address the basic technical problems,
* of the patchwork nature of regulatory "advances" rather than a rational overhaul of the whole process,
* of the use of computer models that aren't capable of modelling a past event, much less future ones,
* of the use of cost/benefit ratios (often based on these incapable models) that have no grounding in reality but have become embedded in the thinking of both regulators and industry.
The list goes on and on, and is truly eye-opening.
Sure, one can be picky about various things that are not covered, such as the survival of Fukushima Daini. My own gripe would be the failure to mention the suppression of safe thorium reactors back in the day in the rush to generate military plutonium. But no book can cover everything, and there is enough important substantive detail in this book to run the risk of being overwhelming. It doesn't get to that point, probably in large part because everything isn't mentioned.
From my point of view, as someone very concerned about nuclear energy from a wide variety of standpoints (waste storage?), this book goes out of its way to mention the very real pressures on government and industry. If failing to excuse the results of giving in to these is "biased," so be it. I doubt you'll find a less biased presentation this side of an industry or NRC publication.
21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Good but fairly slanted 15 Feb 2014
By Joe Minnock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was a little reluctant to read this book because it was advertised as being fairly slanted towards the anti-nuclear forces, but decided to read it because it also promised an accurate history of the incident including some readable technical information. It did a good job outlining the technical events and was worth reading. The rest of the work is basically designed to present the argument that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is too closely aligned with the industry it monitors. The argument is certainly made. Whether it is true or not is hard to tell from this work because it doesn't attempt to present both sides. So worth a read but certainly not a definitive work.
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