At 11 this morning, Prime Minister Naoto Kan warned his people there was "a very high risk" of further radiation leakage from the damaged nuclear complex in Fukushima. By midnight, there were reports that radiation levels were down. We look at the consequences of Japan's ongoing disaster for nuclear power in the US and elsewhere. Also, an update from Sendai, the city closest to the earthquake's epicenter, and General David Petraeus says progress is "steady but fragile" in Afghanistan.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Sendai is the major city closest to the epicenter of Friday's 8.9 earthquake, and it sustained heavy damage, especially from the tsunami. Just after midnight in Japan we talked with Peter Ford in Sendai. He's the Beijing Bureau chief for the Christian Science Monitor.
Peter Ford, Christian Science Monitor
The extent of the damage at Fukushima is still unclear, and nobody knows how much radiation has been released or how more will be. But the ongoing crisis has renewed debate about the safety of nuclear power. There hasn't been a nuclear power plant constructed in the United States since the 1970's, but the Obama Administration has approved federal loan guarantees for two new reactors in Georgia. They are not yet licensed, and the staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has raised questions about their safety from aircraft attacks and their vulnerability to earthquakes. Should nuclear energy be expanded to fuel President Obama's "green economy?" Is it still too early to tell?
Robert Alvarez, Institute for Policy Studies
Eileen Supko, Energy Resources International
Dan Hirsch, UC Santa Cruz / Committee to Bridge the Gap (@ucsc)
John McGaha, American Nuclear Society
Ellen Vancko, Union of Concerned Scientists
Michael A. Levi, Council on Foreign Relations (@levi_m)
President Obama's commanding general, David Petraeus, is in Washington to report on the state of the war in Afghanistan. Despite tactical gains, the intelligence community says the Taliban has not been fundamentally weakened. In the past, it's been standing room only when Petraeus has testified at Congressional hearings. Today, the hearing room was anything but crowded. Yochi Dreazen is Senior Defense Correspondent for the National Journal.