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Friday, March 18, 2011

Obama says Fukushima nuclear risk substantial; offers more support to Japan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday the damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant posed ‘‘a substantial risk’’ to people nearby and pledged more support to Japan over the nuclear emergency and rescue efforts following a devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan last week.
Speaking at the White House, Obama also said that a U.S. decision to ask American citizens living within an 80-kilometer radius of the quake-hit nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture to evacuate as a precautionary measure was ‘‘based upon a careful scientific evaluation.’‘
He also pledged to extend more support for Japan, saying, ‘‘The Japanese people are not alone in this time of great trial and sorrow.’‘
The United States is ‘‘aggressively’’ supporting Japan, with which it has ‘‘an alliance forged more than a half century ago and strengthened by shared interests and democratic values,’’ Obama said.

While urging U.S. citizens in Japan to continue to monitor the situation, Obama assured the safety of the United States, saying, ‘‘We do not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the United States, whether it’s the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska, or U.S. territories in the Pacific.’‘
‘‘That is the judgment of our nuclear regulatory commission and many other experts,’’ he said, adding Washington has no plan to expand the scope of evacuation order beyond the 80-km radius area of the troubled reactors.
‘‘In going forward, we will continue to keep the American people fully updated,’’ Obama said.
Noting that the earthquake and tsunami rendered an unimaginable toll of death and destruction in Japan, Obama also said, ‘‘We’ve seen this powerful natural disaster cause even more catastrophe through its impact on nuclear reactors that bring peaceful energy to the people of Japan.’‘
Prior to the remarks, Obama visited the Japanese Embassy in Washington and signed a condolence book.
At the embassy, Obama told reporters, ‘‘We feel a great urgency to provide assistance to those who have been displaced from their homes who are suffering enormously at this moment.’‘
The president also said, ‘‘Our deepest sympathies, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have been lost.’‘
Obama also showed confidence in Japan’s recovery from the disaster.
‘‘It has people who are strong, who are resilient, who are dedicated to their country, who are brilliant,’’ Obama said. ‘‘I am confident that Japan will emerge even stronger than before.’‘
U.S. forces will send nine experts to Japan to help the country deal with the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, a Pentagon official said Thursday.
The nine are specialists in countermeasures against nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, the official said, adding that the U.S. military will continue to cooperate with Japan in addressing the emergency and see if the additional dispatch of troops or personnel is necessary.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet said it has provided the Japanese government with 100 nuclear, biological and chemical firefighter suits.

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