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Georgia State holds panel March 29 on disaster in Japan

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 – Jeremy Craig, University Relations

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Georgia State University researchers will examine the disaster in Japan following the country’s strongest earthquake in recorded history during a public panel discussion on March 29.

The session, sponsored by GSU’s Asian Studies Center, will be held 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Urban Life Auditorium, Room 220, and is free and open to the public.

“The GSU community has been greatly saddened by the recent tragic events in Japan,” said Kim Reimann, director of the Asian Studies Center. “Reports about the enormous destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11 and the ongoing crisis at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima have been a great cause of concern.”

To better understand the event and its unfolding after-effects, the center organized an interdisciplinary panel to analyze and explain the situation, Reimann said.

“It is a great opportunity for us to learn more about the situation in Japan and bring together our experts from many fields,” she added.

Researchers from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies will take a look at the science and policy issues surrounding the earthquake, its resultant tsunami, disaster response and the unfolding nuclear incident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Panelists include:

•    Xiaochun He, professor of physics, who will discuss nuclear reactions in the context of electricity generation, as well as nuclear radiation and protection from human-made sources and from the natural environment

•    Hassan A. Babaie, associate professor of geosciences and computer science, who will speak about the geology of northern Japan and the processes that led to the earthquake and tsunami

•    John Duffield, professor of political science, who will discuss nuclear power and the Fukushima Daiichi site’s places in Japan’s energy policy, the events that led to the release of radiation, and the implications for energy and climate policy for both Japan and the world

•    William L. Waugh, Jr., professor of public management and policy, who will focus on how Japan’s emergency management system addressed environmental and technological hazards, and how the system is having to adapt to cascading events from the earthquake, then the tsunami, and then to the nuclear situation.

Co-sponsors of the event include the Departments of Political Science, Physics and Astronomy, Geosciences, and Public Management and Policy.

Aerial view of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.