A physicist examines the latest nuclear disaster and its ramifications for the world’s energy future.
On March 11, 2011, at 2:46 p.m., the biggest earthquake in Japan’s history hit the Tohoku region, northeast of Tokyo. A wall of water as high as 128 feet and 110 miles wide surged onto the closest land, damaging or destroying more than 125,000 buildings. Thirty thousand people were killed, injured or missing, and more bad news was to come: Three nuclear reactors were about to undergo meltdowns. Using the disaster as a case study to examine how earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear reactors work, Bortz offers a clearly written volume, nicely embellished with photographs, maps and diagrams. All lead into the key question: “Why would any government take the risk of using nuclear power?” In a straightforward, dispassionate tone, he proceeds to answer his own question and lay out the potential of other energy options—hydroelectric, wind, geothermal and solar. Given the catastrophe that spawned this volume, the discussion is curiously non-alarmist, telling young readers that future energy decisions are theirs to make and that wise choices rooted in solid information will be crucial.
Regardless of tone, this clear and wide-ranging introduction to essential energy issues has much to offer. (glossary, source notes, bibliography, further reading, websites, index, author’s note) (Nonfiction. 11-18)