Synopses & Reviews
On March 11, 2011, an earthquake large enough to knock the earth from its axis sent a massive tsunami speeding toward the Japanese coast and the aging and vulnerable Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power reactors. Over the following weeks, the world watched in horror as a natural disaster became a man-made catastrophe: fail-safes failed, cooling systems shut down, nuclear rods melted.
In the first definitive account of the Fukushima disaster, two leading experts from the Union of Concerned Scientists, David Lochbaum and Edwin Lyman, team up with journalist Susan Q. Stranahan, the lead reporter of the Philadelphia Inquirers Pulitzer Prizewinning coverage of the Three Mile Island accident, to tell this harrowing story. Fukushima combines a fast-paced, riveting account of the tsunami and the nuclear emergency it created with an explanation of the science and technology behind the meltdown as it unfolded in real time. Bolstered by photographs, explanatory diagrams, and a comprehensive glossary, the narrative also extends to other severe nuclear accidents to address both the terrifying question of whether it could happen elsewhere and how such a crisis can be averted in the future.
On March 11, 2011, an earthquake large enough to knock the earth off its axis hit off the coast of Japan, sending the largest tsunami in Japanese history speeding towards the Japanese coast, where the aging nuclear power reactors at Fukushima Daiichi sat vulnerable. Over the following weeks, the world watched in horror as a natural disaster became a manmade catastrophe as failsafes failed, reactors cooling systems shut down, and the nuclear rods inside melted.
In the first definitive account of the Fukushima disaster, two of the leaders of the Union of Concerned Scientists, David Lochbaum and Edwin Lyman, team up with journalist Susan Stranahan, the lead reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirers Pulitzer Prize–winning coverage of the Three Mile Island accident, to tell the harrowing story of Fukushima in vivid detail while simultaneously illuminating the science of nuclear power and safety that we all need to know. The Union of Concerned Scientists brings unassailable scientific and moral authority to what is, finally, a very human story of danger, hubris, and tragedy.
In a cemetery on the southern outskirts of Paris lie the bodies of nearly a hundred of what some have called the first casualties of global climate change. They were the so-called abandoned victims of the worst natural disaster in French history, the devastating heat wave that struck in August 2003, leaving 15,000 dead. They died alone in Paris and its suburbs, and were then buried at public expense, their bodies unclaimed. They died, and to a great extent lived, unnoticed by their neighbors--their bodies undiscovered in some cases until weeks after their deaths.
Fatal Isolation tells the stories of these victims and the catastrophe that took their lives. It explores the multiple narratives of disaster--the official story of the crisis and its aftermath, as presented by the media and the state; the life stories of the individual victims, which both illuminate and challenge the ways we typically perceive natural disasters; and the scientific understandings of disaster and its management. Fatal Isolation is both a social history of risk and vulnerability in the urban landscape and a story of how a city copes with emerging threats and sudden, dramatic change.
About the Author
David Lochbum is the head of the Union of Concerned Scientists Nuclear Safety Project, and is the author of Nuclear Waste Disposal Crisis. He lives in Tennessee and is frequently invited to testify before Congress on nuclear safety matters. Edwin Lyman is a senior scientist in the Global Security Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and was formerly president of the Nuclear Control Institute. He has published many articles and letters on nuclear issues, and lives in Washington, D.C. Susan Stranahan has written about nuclear energy and the environment for more than three decades, and is the author of Susquehanna, River of Dreams. Her reporting on Three Mile Island for the Philadelphia Inquirer earned that publication a Pulitzer Prize. She lives in Maine.
Table of Contents
1 Stories, Suffering, and the State: The Heat Wave and Narratives of Disaster
2 Anecdotal Life: Isolation, Vulnerability, and Social Marginalization
3 Place Matters: Mortality, Space, and Urban Form
4 Vulnerability and the Political Imagination: Constructing Old Age in Postwar France
5 Counting the Dead: Risk and the Limits of Epidemiology