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Obama says coolant sent to Japan's nuke plant as precaution

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U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday that the United States rushed coolant to a Japanese nuclear power plant as a precaution after a 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit the U.S. ally.

Obama told reporters at the White House that when he spoke to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Friday morning, he ” specifically asked him about the nuclear plants and their potential vulnerability as a consequence of the earthquake.”

Obama said he was told the Japanese authorities were monitoring the situation very closely and so far no evidence of radiation leaks had been seen. “But obviously you’ve got to take all potential precautions,” the president added.

He said he had asked his Energy Secretary Steve Chu to be in close contact with the Japanese side to provide any assistance necessary, “but also to make sure that if, in fact, there have been breaches in the safety system on these nuclear plants that they’re dealt with right away.”

Japan’s Kyodo news agency said that radiation leak could occur at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant though the amount would be small. The International Atomic Energy Agency said that it is ready to provide assistance if requested.

Hundreds of people were killed or missing in the powerful quake, which also triggered tsunamis across the Pacific region.


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