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."
You can read the entire report here, in excellent and eloquent English, but the gist is this: the commission finds that the nuclear accident was preventable, and is directly attributable to "serious deficiencies" in the government, regulators, and TEPCO (the utilities company responsible for the Fukushima plant).
It's a specific and detailed look at all the ways those in charge let down their guard, accusing TEPCO and the government of colluding--the influential company managing to endure only the most cursory of regulations and the government allowing itself to be bullied. But the report is also kind of a fascinating cultural study from a commission looking inward at how the nature of modern Japan may have contributed to the disaster.
The whole thing is worth reading. More coverage:
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.