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Obama Says No Harmful Japan Radiation Headed to U.S.

President Barack Obama said on Thursday no harmful radiation from Japan's troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is expected to reach any part of the United States or its territories, echoing earlier comments by two independent U.S. agencies.

Obama said harmful levels were not expected on the U.S. West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska, or U.S. territories in the Pacific.

"That is the judgment of our Nuclear Regulatory Commission and many other experts," Obama said.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Environmental Protection Agency's RadNet radiation air monitors across the U.S. showed "typical fluctuations in background radiation levels."

"The basic physics and basic science tells us that there really can't be any risk or harm to anyone here in the United States or Hawaii or any of the other territories," said Greg Jaczko, the chairman of the NRC in a separate press conference earlier in the day.

Japan presents much different conditions, however. The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, on information from the NRC, ordered an evacuation area of 50 miles from the radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where local authorities are struggling to keep reactors cool and avoid the escape of radioactive material as much as possible.

Jackso said there're are 11 U.S. experts in Japan in contact with Japanese authorities, providing assistance.

"But I would stress that this is a very difficult situation.  There's often conflicting information.  And so we made what we thought was a prudent decision," he said.

The Japanese government is currently calling for a 12 mile (20 Km) evacuation radius around the nuclear plant.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Mar 17, 2011
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