WASHINGTON -- Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday restated the Obama administration’s commitment to keeping nuclear power in the mix of energy sources under development in the U.S., but declined to discuss how the evolving nuclear disaster in Japan might affect that effort.
"The administration believes we must rely on a diverse set of energy sources, including renewables like wind and solar, natural gas, clean coal and nuclear power," Chu said in testimony before a House subcommittee. "The administration is committed to learning from Japan's experience as we work to continue to strengthen America's nuclear industry."
Chu echoed assurances made by the White House on Monday that nuclear facilities in the U.S. are maintained at the highest safety standards. Those near the fault lines and the coasts are designed to withstand the double blow of an earthquake and tsunami that rocked reactors in Japan and led to the release of radioactive material, he said.
More than 30 experts from the Department of Energy have been deployed to assist Japanese officials still struggling to stabilize reactors and assess potential fallout, Chu said. Emergency response experts stationed at U.S. consulates and military installations will assist with surveying and sampling. The U.S. has sent more than 17,000 pounds of monitoring equipment intended to provide early detection of contamination on the ground.