The Daily Rundown | April 17, 2012
>> since an earthquake and is ysubsequent tsunami devastated japan . the first look inside fukushima 's clean up efforts. thanks for being on the program. tell us, what did you see on the ground there at fukushima and how far are they along in the clean up and what concerns you most some.
>> they obviously have a long, long way to go. when you go in, you see hundreds of tons of debris. you have huge trucks and a storage tanker thrown about like they were my 4-year-old twins's toys. it's clear that there were substantial health questions that have to be address and concerned about unit four. there the six reactors. if for example you had an earthquake or a tsunami hit those particular pools, those pools could rupture and that could mean that the fuel rods could catch fire and melt down and you have radiation in the air that would be a huge challenge to control.
>> the japanese are very proud people. they have been reluctant to accept outside help in the past. are they interesting to accept international help in storing these dangerous fuel rods? are they keeping it amongst themselves?
>> i want to commend them for allowing me to make the trip. i sit on the energy committee. i didn't think there was enough information getting out about the clean up. this has huge implications for nuclear power there and around the world. i think there regulators and regulators to their credit will say they are not as strong as our regulators here in the commission. i do think this is something that has to be addressed quickly and tepco has a ten-year plan for essentially moving the spent fuel rots to dry storage. that must be sped up because if another earthquake or tsunami hits, it could be very, very damaging and possibly more radiation than earlier.
>> what are effect does this have on the united states ? can they get in the water and go over to california in those waters?
>> i will not speculate about that certainly. these reactors are very, very close to the ocean. my home state, we have long been concerned about tsunamis and earthquakes. i think it's time to get this right. we need to focus on what kind of design there ought to be for nuclear plants and where they ought to be located. certainly the question of putting them right next to oceans and ought to be problematic to anyone. those are the kinds of issues that can't be kept up any longer.
>> japanese exports are safe. if you are a green tea drinker like i am, you get green tea from japan , you shouldn't worry about that?
>> i won't make scientific judgments. i think they made it clear that they have been able to handle much of the radiation because we stayed within the vessels. that's one of the reasons i'm concerned about unit four. ha is outside the containment process and that why it's earthquake or tsunami can be so serious. i was visiting and we were getting on the bus to go to the airport. people said oh, pretty amazing that you didn't have an earthquake or tremor while you were there. this happens frequently there.
>> just back from japan and fukushima , thank you very much for your insight.
>> thanks for having me.