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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Radiation from quake-hit Japanese nuke plant won't reach US: Obama

US President Barack Obama has said that he was not worried about radiation from the quake hit Japanese nuclear power plant reaching Hawaii.
Asked about whether he is worried about the radiation from Japan reaching the US shores, Obama said, "No. I've been assured that it...any nuclear release dissipates by the time it gets even to Hawaii, much less to the mainland of the US."
"I do think it's important for us to think through constantly how we can improve nuclear technologies to deal with additional safety concerns," Obama said when asked about the safety of nuclear plants in the US during an interview with a Pittsburgh television station.
"We constantly monitor - I asked this question of our nuclear regulatory commission. We constantly monitor seismic activity," he said.
Obama said all energy sources have downsides and none are foolproof, adding that the US learned that last summer during the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Earlier in the day, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the Department of Energy has offered Japan an aerial measuring system capability, including detectors and analytical equipment used to provide assessments of contamination on the ground. In total, the DOE team includes 34 people.
"We have offered our Japanese friends disaster response experts, search and rescue teams, technical advisors with nuclear expertise, and logistical support from the United States military," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
The president is being kept up to date and is constantly being briefed by his national security staff.
The national security staff in the White House is also coordinating a large inter-agency response with experts meeting around the clock to monitor the latest information coming out of Japan, he said.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said it has sent nine additional experts to Tokyo to provide assistance as requested by the Japanese government. Acting as part of a US Agency for International Development assistance team, the NRC has dispatched the experts to Tokyo to provide assistance as requested by the Japanese government, it said.
The first members of the team left the US Monday evening and were due to arrive in Tokyo Wednesday afternoon. The team includes additional reactor experts, international affairs professional staffers, and a senior manager from one of the NRC's four operating regions.

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