Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Nuclear Disaster in Japan & Our Energy Future
Fred Bortz

March 1 2012 / 9780761386605
Non-Fiction Juvenile (7-12): Technology

Reviewed by Beth E. McKenzie

I chose to review this book because I have a suspicious nature. I expected this to be the next big scare book for kids "pulled from the pages of current events- it could happen to you!" The brightly colored covers slyly stuffed with the latest anti-nuke rhetoric spouting hallelujahs for the big three clean energy saviors: Wind, Tides and Geothermal.

Instead I found a friendly, cheerful discussion about the science of nuclear power and how a reactor works. Not a judgment about good or bad ideas, just how it works in a straightforward language that was very understandable. This leads up to a discussion about what happened during the earthquake and the days that followed the tsunami strike on the Fukushima Daiichi reactor complex. It doesn't get in to the gory details of radiation poisoning or the extreme numbers lost in the ocean wave of death (considering television coverage and the age group they will manage that just fine on their own).

The treasure that is hidden inside this book is not only the information about the Japanese incident, although it was good to see that sorted through in an understandable way. The other thing we find is a connection to the author's website, Dr. Fred's Place, that adds to the experience. Here is where you get a real appreciation for the dedicated educator and scientist that authored "Meltdown!" and 19 other books for kids related to Astrobiology, Space Exploration and Travel, Materials Science, Engineering, and Technology. There is a featured section about the effects felt around the world in the field of nuclear energy production and the progress that is being made in the Fukushima evacuation zone. This section does include anti-nuclear articles, but they are balanced by several other opinions so they are useful in making an informed opinion.

This is definitely a book I would consider for my school-age nieces and nephews, and adults with no background in technology or energy production who want a little more information.

Reviewer's Note: A Junior Library Guild Selection
Reviewed 2012