Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wider U.S. Evacuation at Fukushima Supported in NRC Transcripts


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission released transcripts that officials said supported Chairman Gregory Jaczko’s recommendation last year to evacuate Americans from within 50 miles of Japan’s crippled reactor.

“If this happened in the U.S., we would go out to 50 miles,” Bill Borchardt, the NRC’s executive director for operations, told Jaczko in a conversation on March 16, five days into the crisis, included among 3,000 pages of documents released today by the agency. “That would be the appropriate guidance to give the ambassador to pass on at this point.”

Republicans in Congress have criticized Jaczko’s leadership during the 2011 disaster, and Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican, in May questioned why Jaczko recommended a 50-mile (80-kilometer) evacuation zone when Japan’s government cleared 12 miles. Jaczko has said his response was consistent with what the NRC would propose in a similar U.S. crisis.

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