Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chair Gregory Jaczko described the ongoing work of the NRC in advising the Japanese government during the current nuclear crisis and steps the NRC is taking to launch a comprehensive review of all U.S. nuclear facilities. President Obama ordered reevaluation following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan.
He said the NRC was working with the Japanese government and TEPCO, the Toyko utility company maintaining the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, to ensure cooling for the reactors that are still operating and supplying water to the pools storing spent fuel rods.
The chairman declined to speculate on a "worst case scenario," though he suggested that contamination around the facility will need to be addressed and that there will be "difficulty operating some of the reactors in the future."
He went on to relate their efforts to prepare for unexpected disasters in U.S. nuclear facilities. The NRC's Severe Accident program requires utility companies to establish steps for keeping reactors and spent fuel rods cool when the production of electricity is disrupted by severe fires, explosions or other unexpected events.