Orders Review of U.S. Nuclear Facilities
Reuters News Service, October 1, 1999
By Randall Mikkelsen
(Reuters) - President Clinton Friday said he had ordered a safety review
of U.S. nuclear installations following an accident at a Japanese nuclear
fuel plant in which at least 55 people were exposed to radiation, some
at potentially lethal levels.
thought that we ought to have all of our people learn everything we
could about what happened there, analyze our systems here and make sure
we've done everything we can to protect ourselves," Clinton told reporters
at the White House.
was a pretty good level of confidence that we had done that ... but
I think that when something like this happens, we realize we live in
a world where perfection eludes us and we've got to keep working on
this," Clinton said.
House spokesman Joe Lockhart said Energy Secretary Bill Richardson,
the National Security Council and the Pentagon were asked to take part
in the review.
met reporters after a telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister
Keizo Obuchi about the accident at a Sumitomo Metals uranium processing
plant in Tokaimura, in which at least 55 people were exposed to radiation.
told me Japanese authorities have been able to bring the situation under
control, and he thanked me for the outpouring of support from the United
States," Clinton said.
the last day, we've been providing information to Japan on our experiences
in dealing with similar incidences in the United States and making available
our experts in atmospheric monitoring and any other areas that might
be useful," Clinton said.
president told reporters he had been informed of a similar incident
that occurred in the United States about 30 years ago, apparently referring
to fatal accident at a Rhode Island commercial nuclear reactor processing
facility in 1964. The death of nuclear worker Robert Peabody in that
accident remains the only fatality in U.S. history resulting from an
accident at a commercial nuclear reactor.
had been meeting with his counterparts in Russia and discussing ways
to coordinate assistance to Japan, Clinton said.
has offered to send medical and scientific experts, but Japan has not
yet said whether it needs the help.