In Japan, an even more catastrophic nuclear disaster occurred eight years ago this month. And like many Pennsylvanians, the Japanese have largely turned against nuclear. As a year-old, Yuji Onuma, right, receives an award from the mayor of Futaba, Japan, because Onuma won a contest for the town slogan.
He now regrets his slogan, which exalted nuclear power. Yuji Onuma was in the town of Futaba, where he grew up and was living with his wife, who was pregnant with their first child. Their home was about 3 or 4 kilometers from the Daiichi nuclear power plant. During an interview, Onuma showed a picture of when he was about 12 years old and getting an award from the Mayor of Futaba. A teacher had asked the kids to come up with a town slogan. So I was so proud of that. Then he showed another photo. He had several houses that he rented to workers. The houses have all been demolished.
Nobody is living in Futaba. In total, an estimated 20, people died from the earthquake and tsunami, which ravaged the northeast coastal region of Japan. The giant waves reached above 30 feet in some places. Power outages, and failures in the cooling systems, caused a partial meltdown. A report later blamed the company for not preparing for the accident, which they knew could occur, and not having proper evacuation plans in place. Hiroshi Miura was a rice farmer who fled the radioactive fallout from the Daiichi nuclear accident.
Now, his fields are filled with solar panels. Hiroshi Miura was one of about , people who fled the radioactive fallout. In total, , people evacuated due to the earthquake and tsunami. Many, like Miura, never returned to their original homes. An abandoned coastal home close to the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
Even today, eight years later, the area where his house once stood is littered with debris, and full of trees killed by the force of the waves and the saltwater. Miura is a rice farmer who lived and farmed in Soma, along the Pacific coast in Fukushima Prefecture.
It killed 68 people in his neighborhood. Pointing up to a nearby cliff, he says more than a thousand years ago, when researchers believe the last tsunami hit the area, a shrine had been built in the safest place.
Like a lot of farmers near the plant, he says he can make the same amount of money using his land as a solar field as he can growing rice. In much of the area, the soil is still contaminated, and some consumers are wary of buying rice that originates in the region.
Clearing land for solar panels in Fukushima Prefecture, near the Daiichi nuclear power plant. Near his land, workers are building a sea wall to protect the area from future tsunamis. They are also removing contaminated soil, bagging it in white plastic, and stacking it in fields along the nearby highway, where it is expected to remain for decades. Like a lot of people in Japan today, Miura opposes all nuclear energy. After radiation was released from the Daiichi plant, much of it drifted westward, into the mountains. Signs warn drivers not to linger, and motorcycles are forbidden.
The horror of a nuclear accident is that time will not take care of it. The more time that passes, the worse it gets. In the case of an accident at a chemical plant, when everything flammable has burned, the fire will go out. But with a nuclear accident there is no extinguishing the flame. And although the hazardous materials given off by a chemical plant may cause significant contamination for a time, this will dissipate in the atmosphere and eventually become harmless.
But this is not true of radioactive material. Plutonium has a half-life of 24, years. Besides telling his side of the story, Kan also uses this opportunity to speak against nuclear power. That added up to potentially 50 million people being forced from their homes, with dozens of years before rehabitation could be considered. A map shows how large the affected area could've been. Thankfully, Japan was spared from the worst-case scenario. Kan discusses how they narrowly they avoided complete disaster, both because of the hard work of dedicated citizens and luck.
Because the disaster almost caused the cultural and economic destruction of his country, Kan has become a vocal opponent of the dependence on nuclear power. His goal is to "realize a nuclear-free Japan and a nuclear-free planet and to pursue an increase in new renewables. He called for the elimination of nuclear power usage in Japan by While we continue to make scientific and technological progress, the abilities of the individual have not evolved a great deal.
And as long as that gap exists, there will be occasions when we lose control of science and technology. My Nuclear Nightmare was originally published in for a Japanese audience. Prior knowledge about the particulars of Japanese politics and the operation of nuclear power plants would have been helpful.
Kan's account will probably be most interesting for people who were closely following the news about this topic, though it was very educational to me as a casual observer. Despite my gaps in knowledge, I found this intimate account enlightening. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This book will be available for purchase on February 15, Feb 28, Stephanie Jane Literary Flits rated it really liked it Shelves: biography , netgalley-find , politics.
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits On Valentine's Day this year news agencies reported radiation leaks from Fukushima spiralling out of control which makes the English-language translation of Kan's memoir ominously timely. Over 18, people were lost in the massive earthquake and tsunami of March and six years later leaks from the damaged nuclear plants have not even been successfully contained, let alone repaired.
Evacuated civilians will not be allowed home for dec See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits On Valentine's Day this year news agencies reported radiation leaks from Fukushima spiralling out of control which makes the English-language translation of Kan's memoir ominously timely. Evacuated civilians will not be allowed home for decades. The true extent of the damage caused by radioactive pollution leaking into the Pacific Ocean may not be known for millennia. In this memoir Naoto Kan recounts the extremes of confusion, corporate incompetence, and selfless bravery he encountered in the earthquake's immediate aftermath and also looks ahead to a time when all our electricity needs can be met without the threat of yet another nuclear nightmare.
This memoir covers the days and weeks immediately following March 11th and is very much Kan putting his version of events. I found some of the political posturing dry, but truly felt Kan's fear of nuclear Armageddon as the Fukushima reactors edge ever closer to complete disaster.
From my armchair spectator perspective, this is a fascinating read. What would you do if your country was about to be partially obliterated, left uninhabitable for decades or maybe centuries, and the men because everyone does seem to be male here running the company at fault don't seem to have any idea what to do? I found this corporate ignorance one of the most frightening aspects of the story. The electric company had bought the reactors in as complete units, the first all the way from America.
When disaster hit, men onsite at the plant did all they could, but managers at headquarters were more concerned with blacking out parts of the instruction manual to protect trade secrets! I protested against the new Hinkley reactor in Britain mainly on financial grounds - it's poor value for consumers even before factoring in the costs of a Fukushima-style clearup - but now I am seriously wondering at the sense of buying in a French-Chinese ready-build.
In this memoir Naoto Kan smashes the myths of 'safe' and 'cheap' nuclear power. Neither concept is based in reality and his insights into how easily it can all go horrifically wrong were chilling to read, especially when I considered that this all happened in Japan - a prosperous nation with a strong technological background. Radioactive pollution doesn't respect national borders and our worsening climate makes natural disasters all the more likely.
As a result of reading this book I am now even more convinced that nuclear power plants are outdated and an unnecessary risk. Feb 10, Hillary rated it really liked it.
My Fukushima - Kindle edition by Taro Aizu, Ed Hanssen. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like. “I'm finally home” – these are the first words I uttered when I returned to Okuma, my hometown. It was part of a speech I gave to guests at a.
When the Fukushima disaster started unfolding March 11, , I become very interested in the story and followed it for a long time. By chance, I walked passed this book in the library and had to check it out. The chaos and uncertainty depicted were informative and terrifying. Lack of policy surrounding what to do in case of a meltdown both at TEPCO and JP government could have led When the Fukushima disaster started unfolding March 11, , I become very interested in the story and followed it for a long time.
Lack of policy surrounding what to do in case of a meltdown both at TEPCO and JP government could have led to dire consequences if not for extreme luck. The book was repetitive at times but was a good read overall. I feel much more informed about the subject and have a deeper appreciation of the severity of the disaster.
We visited the spot and saw a large number of cherry blossom trees standing along the 2. Keep me logged in. As if to underline the point, a man in the audience stood up early in the hearing and began to groan. They acknowledged they might have to find a new place to live. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Log In Don't have an account? In his own temporary housing, Kanouya-san is not crying — publicly at least.
Dec 24, Manzoor Elahi rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. Naoto Kan, who was the Japan's prime minister at that time, has revealed that the country came within a paper-thin margin of a nuclear disaster requiring the evacuation of 50 million people. Naoto Kan gives a good description on the panic and disarray at the highest levels of the Japanese government, as well as at the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company TEPCO , as it fought to control multiple meltdowns at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station.
This books is more of a reply to the criticism of his handling of the crisis and explains how this experience had turned him from a supporter of nuclear power into a convinced opponent. Though it is sometimes repetitive - even for a short book, it is informative about how factors like the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency NISA who has no educational background on nuclear safety, miscommunication or sometimes no communication at all between different agencies can lead to failure.
Apr 01, Michele Benchouk rated it liked it. I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley! Specific details are provided regarding decisions made, timeline, site visits, evacuation planning, and response actions. Prime Minister Kan appeared to be proactive in his approach to the disaster, incisive in his q I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Prime Minister Kan appeared to be proactive in his approach to the disaster, incisive in his questioning, and proactive in his demand for opinions from experts in the field.
Nan frequently appears defensive in the writing, and that was somewhat distracting. I admit, though, that I was not intimately aware of what was happening at the time, and there probably was more rumor and criticism than I am aware of. It seems that Nan was proactive in his responses, and I can agree that Japan may not want to pursue nuclear power based on its small size and location on the ring of fire.