The Tyee has published my review of the book 'Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster'. Excerpt:
At 2:46 p.m. on March 11, 2011 events began to occur that no disaster novelist (or nuclear engineer) could have imagined.
First a 9.0 subduction earthquake struck off the east coast of Japan, moving the northern half of the island of Honshu over a meter eastward. Below it, the Pacific plate moved about 36 metres westward along a fault roughly 300 kilometres long.
The quake lasted for three minutes. During the first minute, sensors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant picked up the vibrations and the three functioning reactors automatically began to shut down. (The other three were already shut down for routine maintenance.) Other reactors along the coast were doing the same thing, without incident, as they were designed to do.
Second, a tsunami about 10 meters high struck the plant. The seawall easily deflected it. But a few minutes after that a 15-meter wave arrived, overwhelmed the seawall, and flooded the plant.
Third, a few hours after that, three reactors were in meltdown and a spent-fuel pool threatened to boil dry and start melting down as well.
Here's my own first post on Fukushima, via the BBC, at 6:17 a.m. on March 11, 2011.