When this documentary premiered, less than a year had passed since a devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami had crippled Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex. FRONTLINE correspondent Miles O’Brien examined the implications of the Fukushima accident for U.S. nuclear safety and asked how this disaster could affect the future of nuclear energy around the world. (Aired 2012)
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In “Nuclear Aftershocks,” O’Brien traveled to three continents to explore the revived debate about the safety of nuclear power, the options for alternative energy sources, and questions about whether a disaster like the one at Fukushima could happen in the United States. In particular, he visited one emergent battleground: the controversial relicensing of the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York, located on a fault line some 35 miles from Manhattan, in the most densely populated region in the U.S. Were there lessons to be learned from the disaster in Japan?
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FRONTLINE is produced at GBH in Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding is provided by the Abrams Foundation; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Park Foundation; the Heising-Simons Foundation; and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation, and additional support from Koo and Patricia Yuen.
Prologue: After Fukushima, is America prepared for nuclear disaster? – 00:00
New York’s aging Indian Point, near Manhattan, up for relicensing – 01:04
2011 earthquake & tsunami take down Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant – 04:33
Photos, footage inside Fukushima Daiichi show meltdown damage – 11:39
Warnings in a rice paddy: ancient poem recounts Jogan tsunami – 15:23
What did Fukushima operator TEPCO know & what did it do wrong? – 18:07
Japanese public worries about fallout, radiation, cancer, contamination – 23:00
With Chernobyl in mind, Germany shuts down nuclear reactors – 28:49
Can solar, wind & other renewable energy replace nuclear power? – 32:00
Nuclear Regulatory Commission monitors U.S. plants – 37:35
Located on a fault line, could Indian Point weather an earthquake? – 43:20
Fukushima, 1 year later: cold shutdown & generations evacuated – 49:52
Credits – 51:59