New book examines Fukushima disaster and its aftermath
3 October 2012
A new book by the University of Sydney's Richard Broinowski tells the story of Japan's worst nuclear disaster and attempts by authorities to suppress, downplay and obscure its consequences.
Broinowski is a former diplomat who travelled to Fukushima in October 2011, six months after the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. He visited the irradiated zone to speak with those affected by radiation leaks and to find out why authorities delayed warning the public about the severity of the radiation.
"The book's central aim is to make the most accurate assessment possible of the physical and psychological damage of the meltdowns, their effects on Japanese politics and economics, and on the Japanese and international nuclear industries," he says.
The book traces the devastating aftermath of the March 2011 force-nine earthquake that jolted the Pacific Ocean seabed east of Japan and resulted in a 21-metre-high tsunami crashing onto the coast of Fukushima, Miyagi.
In the earthquake and tsunami, villages were destroyed, 16,000 people were swept away and explosions and meltdowns at a nuclear plant near the city of Fukushima ensued.
Combining interviews, research, and analysis, Broinowski 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 Fallout from Fukushima, Broinowski puts this nuclear tragedy in context, tracing a 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 — continue to put their faith in this technology.
When: 6 for 6.30pm, Wednesday 3 October
Where: gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, Sydney. See map
Cost: $10, concession $7
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