Eight more experts from the NRC are being sent to Japan to help that country respond to its nuclear emergency. They join two other NRC staff who were dispatched Saturday. All NRC staff members are acting as part of a U.S. Agency for International Development assistance team, and are being sent at the request of the Japanese government.
The additional team members include more reactor experts, international affairs professional staffers, and a senior manager from one of the NRC’s four region offices. They come from NRC headquarters and regional offices in King of Prussia, Pa., and Atlanta, Ga.
The team will do whatever is necessary to understand the status of safely shutting down the affected Japanese reactors; better understand the potential impact on people and the environment; and, if asked, provide technical advice and support through the U.S. ambassador.
The team is led by Charles A. Casto, deputy regional administrator of the NRC’s Center of Construction Inspection, and members will be in communication with the Japanese regulator, the U.S. Embassy, NRC headquarters, and other government stakeholders as appropriate.
We’ll keep you up to date on their experiences. They are expected to arrive Wednesday, Japanese time.
Public Affairs Director
The NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko was at the White House today to brief the media there on the NRC response to the Japanese nuclear emergency. We will supply a link to the transcript as soon as we get it. New information: Here is the link to the transcript: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/14/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney-nuclear-regulatory-commission-
But in part, he said that the type and design of the Japanese reactors and the way events have unfolded give us confidence in saying radiation at harmful levels will not reach the U.S.
He also said that we believe the protective steps the Japanese are taking are comparable to ones we would use here and that we advise Americans in Japan to follow the guidance of Japanese officials.
In other news, the Japanese government has formally asked for assistance from the United States as it continues to respond to nuclear power plant cooling issues triggered by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11. The NRC is assembling a team to send over in response to the request for help. As we’ve said before, we already have two boiling-water experts from the NRC in Tokyo as part of an USAID team.
The NRC will continue monitoring the Japanese reactor events via its Headquarters Operations Center in Rockville, Md., on a 24-hour-a-day basis for the foreseeable future.
Finally, there is a lot of erroneous information in the media and online about this event and its ramifications. One plume model in particular is especially egregious and totally bogus. We urge you to continue to seek information from credible sources, including the NRC and other federal agencies.
Public Affairs Director