Publication Date

October 26, 2011



annual meeting sessionFrom now until the 126th annual meeting, we’ll be running a series of “Session of the Week” posts here on the blog to highlight the varied scholarship you can expect at the upcoming meeting. Last week we featured “Did We Go Wrong? The Past and Prospects of the History Profession.”

This week we present AHA Session 38, “Fukushima: An International Perspective on Nuclear Accidents,” which links current events to the past.

Fukushima: An International Perspective on Nuclear Accidents (AHA Session 38)
Date: Friday, January 6, 2012: 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Location: Ontario Room (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)
Sponsored by: Local Arrangements Committee

Session Abstract: The March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan introduced a new generation to the hazards of civilian nuclear power. Far more than the accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the explosions and core meltdowns that rocked four of the Fukushima reactors provided stark displays of the hazards related to regulating complex technologies, hazards that engineers and scientists have grappled with for a half century. The history of severe accidents provides essential context for a public evaluation of nuclear power’s future role, if any, in global energy consumption.

This roundtable of scholars will offer an international, comparative discussion of severe nuclear accidents, and provide context on the early recognition of possible reactor meltdowns, differing national approaches to the prevention, mitigation, and management of severe accidents, political considerations, and public views of reactor risks. Panelists will also consider the Cold-War legacy of nuclear power, and how national weapons programs have contributed to severe accidents and complicated their management in a post-Fukushima world.

Chair: Thomas Wellock, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Panel: Kohta Juraku, University of Tokyo; Martin Melosi, University of Houston; Sonja Schmid, Virginia Tech; and J. Samuel Walker, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

For more highlights from the Program of the 126th Annual Meeting see our roundups of digital history sessions, teaching sessions, and sessions for graduate students and early career professionals at the meeting.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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