News / USA

    American Official Warns of Significant Radiation Risk in Japan

    This handout picture shows the damaged third (L) and fourth reactors of the TEPCO Fukushima No.1 power plant in Fukushima, north of Tokyo, March 16, 2011
    This handout picture shows the damaged third (L) and fourth reactors of the TEPCO Fukushima No.1 power plant in Fukushima, north of Tokyo, March 16, 2011

    U.S Nuclear Regulatory Chairman Gregory Jaczko told a congressional panel that his commission is recommending a larger evacuation radius from Japan's Fukishima nuclear plant than Japan has ordered.

    Jaczko arrived late to Wednesday's hearing because he had been called for a meeting to the White House on Japan's nuclear crisis.  Jaczko described the dire situation at Japan's Fukishima nuclear plant, saying radiation levels at the fourh reactor at that plant are "extremely high."  He said  the State Department is issuing a new recommendation for U.S. citizens in Japan.

    "For a comparable situation in the United States, we would recommend an evacuation to a much larger radius than has currently been provided in Japan," he said.

    Watch William Ide's report on the severity of the nuclear crisis

    Jaczko said the U.S. Ambassador in Japan has been told that it would be appropriate to evacuate U.S. citizens to a 80 kilometer radius from the Fukishima nuclear plant.  Japan had ordered citizens to take precautions within a 30 kilometer-radius, with a 20 kilometer evacuation radius from the nuclear plant, and advising those within a 30 kilometer radius to stay indoors.

    The combined natural disasters of an earthquake and a tsunami have put Japan's Fukishima nuclear power plant in danger of a meltdown. Jaczko and Energy Secretary Steven Chu were both on Captiol Hill to testify on their agencies' budget proposals for 2012, but the crisis in Japan dominated the hearing.

    Democratic Congresswoman Doris Matsui of California expressed the concern felt by many across the world when she posed this question to Energy Secretary Chu: "Mr. Secretary, what happens if there is a meltdown in one or more of the Japanese reactors, and the containment system fails?"

    Chu said he is getting conflicting reports from Japan about the current situation. "We are trying to monitor very closely, we hear conflicting reports about exactly what is happening at the several reactors that are now at risk, and I would not want to speculate on exactly what will happen," he said.

    Chu admitted that the situation in Japan is already worse than the nuclear disaster at Three Mile Island in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania  in 1979, America's worst nuclear accident.  Nuclear Regulatory Chairman Jaczko sought to reassure Americans that nuclear power plants are built in the United States to withstand earthquakes, tsunamis and all kinds of natural disasters. Energy Secretary Chu reaffirmed President Obama' support for nuclear power as one of a diverse set of energy  sources, and said the adminstration is committed to learning from Japan.

    A number of  U.S. lawmakers expressed their support for nuclear power as an important source of electricity and of well-paid jobs for those who work at the 104 nuclear plants in the United States.  
    "Obviously nuclear energy plays a vital role in the energy needs of our country today.  It provides roughly 20 percent of all electricity generated in America," said Republican Congressman Ed Whitfield of Kentucky.

    But some, such as Democratic Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts, said the unfolding  tragedy in Japan should make the United States fundamentally re-think its energy policy as other countries are.

    "China, Venezuela, Germany, Switzerland and other countries are shutting down older plants and scrapping plans for new ones.  We too need a seismic shift in our approach to nuclear reactor safety," Markey said.

    In its 2012 budget proposal, the Obama administration has asked for an additional $36 billion for loan guarantees for nuclear power plant construction.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora