By Steve Featherstone
Posted 07.17.2012 at 10:10 am 19 Comments
On April 26, 1986, two powerful explosions tore through Unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, flipping the reactor’s giant 2,000-ton concrete lid into the air like a coin. White-hot chunks of the nuclear core rained down on adjacent buildings, setting fires and peppering the ground outside. Remnants of the core burned for 10 days, churning a thick plume of radioactive isotopes equivalent to 400 Hiroshima bombs high into the atmosphere.
The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, an independent (well, duh) committee set up by the Japanese parliament to look into last year's nuclear disaster, just released its official report--and it's pretty damning. In the introduction, the chairman of the commission says the nuclear accident "could and should have been foreseen and prevented."
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.