"Almost 24 hours to the minute since the tsunami hit Fukushima Daiichi, Unit 1 exploded. The building wrenched apart, sending shards of irradiated concrete and metal knifing through the air in all directions. The reactor's massive heavy-duty gantry crane bent like a twig and collapsed onto the refuelling floor control room, crushing everything that wasn't expelled in the blast. Outside, chunks of debris rained down on the fire crew, injuring five and shredding the hoses they had just laid. Among the injured was the plant's own fire chief, whose arm snapped when a piece of steel hurtled through the window."
In March 2011, a 15-metre tsunami wiped out long stretches of Japanese coastline, killing thousands. Flooded cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant failed as hundreds of men and women battled to save three reactors from destruction in what became the most expensive industrial accident of all time.
Melting Sun spans 150 years of little-known history to retell how Japan evolved from the first victim of atomic energy to its most passionate supporter. It is a story of innovation and determination, but also of collusion, deception, overconfidence, failure and, ultimately, death. From a nuclear ship stranded at sea after leaking radiation on its maiden voyage, to the unimaginable final days of two men treated for extreme over-exposure, to Fukushima itself - the only accident comparable with the infamous Chernobyl disaster.