On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 earthquake struck eastern Japan. It was followed by a 45 foot high tsunami. After the water left, miles of land were contaminated and 15,870 were confirmed dead. Station Blackout is the story of what happened within the two nuclear plants most impacted by the disaster.
Station Blackout is four tales smashed together. It is an autobiography of the author’s career working with nuclear energy. It is a memoir of the author’s time in Japan immediately following the tsunami. It is an almost minute-by-minute account of what happened during the earthquake, the subsequent tsunami and the mitigation efforts that were made. Finally, it is a story of four leaders, how their leadership had to flex with the changing conditions, and how being calm might have prevented an even larger disaster.
The first two tales were boring compared to the last two. They seemed in the book more as filler than anything else. However, the last two stories were spectacular. They read like a Tom Clancy or Clive Cussler adventure tale. The reader is placed in the seat of the leaders of the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini plants. Would you have the strength to destroy the reactor even though your company’s leader as well as your nation’s government is telling you not to do it? Even if it could overt a nuclear meltdown and subsequent nuclear fallout for miles around the plant? The 1980s movie China Syndrome had a frantic Jack Lemmon trying to prevent the exact same thing in America. The scariest part is that this story is real!
Even though Station Blackout is non-fiction, it is a great choice for thriller readers. Just skim the autobiographical details and don’t read the Introduction if you don’t already know details about what happened. 4 stars!
Thanks to Radius Book Group and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.