The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is coordinating with the Department of Energy and other federal agencies in providing whatever assistance the Japanese government requests as they respond to conditions at several nuclear power plant sites following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The NRC has sent two boiling-water reactor experts to Japan as part of a U.S. Agency for International Development team.
In response to nuclear emergencies, the NRC works with other U.S. agencies to monitor radioactive releases and predict their path. All the available information indicates weather conditions have taken the small releases from the Fukushima reactors out to sea away from the population. Given the thousands of miles between the two countries, Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Territories and the U.S. West Coast are not expected to experience any harmful levels of radioactivity.
During a nuclear event the NRC has requirements to protect populations around reactors. For instance, the U.S. evacuation standard at 10 miles is roughly equivalent to the 20-kilometer distance recommended in Japan. The United States also uses sheltering in place and potassium iodide, protective measures also available in Japan. United States citizens in Japan are encouraged to follow the protective measures recommended by the Japanese government. These
measures appear to be consistent with steps the United States would take.
The NRC will not comment on hour-to-hour developments at the Japanese reactors. This is an ongoing crisis for the Japanese who have primary responsibility.