This past week, PBS’ acclaimed show Frontline put a spotlight on the story of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown. You can watch the entire episode, as well read the supplemental materials, here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/japans-nuclear-meltdown/
It is a moving story and I highly recommend watching the episode. It made me think about how we rate or judge performance in catastrophic incidents. It is often easy to look back and critique, but for those working in the midst of crises who operate on limited data and without the benefit of a strategic vantage point the decisions are not so clear. In this case it seems that the process resulted in (eventually) the correct calls being made. A different decision at any of various points may have resulted in the evacuation of almost 30 million people in and around Tokyo.
What has the U.S. faced recently that comes close? Are responsible organizations, in and out of government as well as at every level, ready to face such a challenge?
I hope so. But I wouldn’t bet my own money on it.