On March 11, 2011, the most powerful earthquake in Japan's history killed thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands. The 9.0-magnitude earthquake also triggered a tsunami: a towering wave in the ocean that rushed in and swept away small towns along the coast.
It is well-known that these natural disasters damaged several nuclear power plants around the Asian island nation of Japan, including the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. It is not well-known that there were 38 Americans at the plant when the earthquake hit.
Carl Pillitteri, a nuclear technician, was one of them. Pillitteri and his crew were able to escape to Tokyo, but since then, he has been reliving that day.
Speaking with Alex Chadwick, host of American Public Media's "Burn: An Energy Journal", Pillitteri said he's still struggling to come to terms with the disaster's impact. "I don't think I'm ever going to get over it," he said.
"I had gotten to a point where I had surrendered. And that surrender was -- you know, I remember asking to make it quick," - Carl Pillitteri, nuclear technician.
"I have hardly laughed this whole year. I have hardly smiled this whole year. And that's something I miss," - Carl Pillitteri, nuclear technician.
1. Where is Japan?
2. What is a tsunami?
3. Why does an earthquake happen?
1. According to the story, it has taken Carl Pillitteri a full year to discuss the events that took place on March 11. Why do think this is the case?
2. Why do earthquakes often cause tsunamis? How does a tsunami travel across the ocean?
3. What parts of the U.S. are susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis? Why? What natural disasters are prevalent where you live? How do you prepare for them?