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Abstract

On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that devastated the Sendai region of Honshu Island, Japan,' and disrupted electrical transmission to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Backup generators failed at all six reactors, causing a complete station blackout. Despite circumstances for which they were entirely unprepared, including total darkness inside the buildings, plant workers heroically attempted to maintain safety equipment. Nonetheless, without electricity, essential cooling systems eventually failed, precipitating spent fuel pool fires, reactor fuel melting, hydrogen explosions, and major releases of radioactive materials.'

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