No plans to change nuclear energy policy: US

In view of the Japanese experience, Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Poneman said the US is going to continue to make sure that each and every one of nuclear reactors in the US those sources is as safe as is humanly possible.

"We will continue to take all learning into account as we proceed from episodes that happened, from hypothetical that we might be able to come up with. It's a matter of our continuous approach to our own development of our energy resources to make sure that they’re done continuously and safely.

Each event as it occurs is taken into account, but we don't sort of change from day to day our overall approach to the desire to diversify our overall energy posture," he said.
There are 104 operating reactors comprising of one-fifths of electricity of the US; 70 per cent of the carbon-free electricity in the US comes from nuclear power.

"So we do see nuclear power as continuing to play an important role in building a low-carbon future. But be assured that we will take the safety aspect of that as our paramount concern," Poneman said.

"From a policy perspective, we will continue to operate our reactors and seek to operate them safely. We will continue to seek to build nuclear into a part of a responsible energy future, and we will repose our confidence in the NRC to make sure that we only do so to the extent that it can be done safely," Poneman said.

Nuclear energy remains a part of the overall energy plan of US President Barack Obama when he talks about reaching a clean energy standard it's a vital part of that.

"As we get more information about Japan and what happened there, that can be incorporated. But right now, we remain committed to the clean energy standard and the other aspects of the President's energy plan," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

"At this time, we don't have any information that would cause us to do anything different with our approach with the current reactors. But we will review information as it becomes available," Jaczko said.

Responding to questions about the safety and security of nuclear power plants in the US, chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Greg Jaczko said US power plants are designed to very high standards for earthquake effects.

"All our plants are designed to withstand significant natural phenomena like earthquakes, tornadoes and tsunamis. So we believe we have a very solid and strong regulatory infrastructure in place right now.

But of course, as we always do, as an independent regulatory agency, we will continue to take new information and see if there are changes that we need to make with our program," he said.

"We have a strong safety program in place to deal with seismic events that are likely to happen at any nuclear facility in this country. As we get past this immediate crisis where we continue to provide support to the Japanese, we'll gather information about the specifics of the event," he said.

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