An Update on Japan from Press Secretary Carney

Press Secretary Jay Carney gave the following update on the situation in Japan at the outset of his press briefing today:

MR. CARNEY:  Good afternoon.  I apologize for the fact that we’re running a little late here today.  Before I get started, I’d just like to give you a short update on the response to the situation in Japan.

The United States is continuing to do everything in its power to help Japan and American citizens who were there at the time of these tragic events.  USAID is coordinating the overall U.S. government efforts in support of the Japanese government’s response, and we are currently directing individuals to www.usaid.gov for information about response donations.

The President is being kept up to date and is constantly being briefed by his national security staff.  The national security staff in the White House is also coordinating a large interagency response with experts meeting around the clock to monitor the latest information coming out of Japan.

We have offered our Japanese friends disaster response experts, search and rescue teams, technical advisors with nuclear expertise, and logistical support from the United States military.  Secretary Chu announced earlier today that the Department of Energy has offered and Japan has accepted an aerial measuring system capability, including detectors and analytical equipment used to provide assessments of contamination on the ground.  In total, the DOE team includes 34 people.

To support our citizens in Japan, the embassy is working around the clock.  We have our consular services available 24 hours a day to determine the whereabouts and well-being of all U.S. citizens in Japan.  A short while ago the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the State Department each issued an update on the ongoing situation at the nuclear plant in question in Japan.  The guidance, once again, was that after careful analysis of data, radiation levels and damage assessments to all units at the plant, our independent experts at the NRC are in agreement with the response and measures taken by Japanese technicians, including their recommended 20-kilometer radius for evacuation and additional shelter-in-place recommendations out to 30 kilometers.

Both the NRC and the State Department are continuing to ask American citizens in Japan to listen to the local Japanese officials for the very latest information regarding the situation there.

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