Cover image for Meltdown! : the nuclear disaster in Japan and our energy future
Meltdown! : the nuclear disaster in Japan and our energy future
Publication Information:
Minneapolis, [Minn.] : Twenty-First Century Books, c2012.
Physical Description:
64 p. : ill. (some col.), col. maps ; 26 cm.
Earthquake! Tsunami! Meltdown! -- Energy from the heart of matter -- Nuclear reactor successes and failures -- What went wrong at Fukushima? -- Fukushima and our energy future.
Reading Level:
1000 L Lexile
Recounts the Tohoku earthquake, subsequent tsunami, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 363.1799 BOR 1 1
Book TEEN 363.1799 BOR 1 1

On Order



Japan. March 11, 2011. 2:46 P.M. The biggest earthquake in Japan's history--and one of the world's five most powerful since 1900--devastated the Tohoku region, 320 kilometers (200 miles) northeast of Tokyo. It triggered a huge tsunami that left crippling damage in its wake. More than 13,000 people drowned, and thousands of buildings and homes were reduced to rubble.

As people assessed the damage, they made the most frightening discovery of all: the Fukushima #1 nuclear power plant was seriously damaged and three of its six reactors were heading for meltdowns. Workers tried desperately--but unsuccessfully--to save them. Explosions and fires released radioactivity into the air. Within days the Japanese government declared a 20-kilometer (12-mile) evacuation zone. The future of the plant, the long-term health of those exposed to radiation, and the effects on the environment remained uncertain.

Learn more about this massive catastrophe as Dr. Fred Bortz examines both the human tragedy and the scientific implications of the nuclear meltdown. Compare this disaster to similar nuclear events in the United States and in Ukraine, and move ahead with Dr. Bortz as he explores the global debate about the future of nuclear power and alternative sources of energy.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-This title covers the nuclear disaster at Fukushima from the first tremor of the Great Tohoku Earthquake to the aftermath of the meltdown. Bortz uses the present tense to engage readers though this sometimes makes the narrative difficult to follow. A short history and detailed description of nuclear power is full of scientific explanations that can be daunting to readers unfamiliar with the concepts, but the information is valuable. The author also examines the nuclear disasters at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Although some topics are discussed in great detail, others, such as the harm caused by radiation, are glossed over. The last chapter tackles the question of what this recent incident means for our energy future, providing a look at several options but leaning heavily toward properly planned and regulated nuclear plants as the answer. Full-color photographs and detailed diagrams appear on each spread. Purchase widely for the timeliness of the topic, but make sure you have a variety of alternative energy books on your shelves to go with it.-Heather Acerro, Rochester Public Library, MN (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

Bortz clearly explains the science underlying the 2011 disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. After a discussion of earthquakes and tsunamis, the focus shifts to nuclear physics, notorious nuclear disasters (including Fukushima), and the debate about the safety of nuclear power and its alternatives. Color diagrams and photographs effectively illustrate the aftermath of the disasters. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind. (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

(Nonfiction. 11-18)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

The first chapter head Earthquake! Tsunami! Meltdown! and frequent use of present-tense narrative cranks up the melodrama in this account of the Great Tohoku Earthquake of March 2011 and the tsunami-triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear facilities. Bortz surrounds his blow-by-blow description of the catastrophe with an explanation of what causes earthquakes, histories of the discovery of nuclear fission and the growth of the nuclear-power industry, and relatively detailed analyses of the causes and effects of other nuclear disasters. After (arguably) concluding that the still-ongoing disaster is much worse than Three Mile Island and not as bad as Chernobyl, he closes with a pro-nuclear look at alternative energy sources. Maps, charts, color photos of tsunami-wracked landscapes, and a well-maintained update page on the author's website enhance this broadly informative, if not exactly even-handed, view of the disaster and its lingering effects.--Peters, John Copyright 2010 Booklist