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Federal Eye
Posted at 01:56 PM ET, 03/16/2011

How the U.S. government is helping Japan

Dozens of nuclear energy experts have joined thousands of troops providing assistance to the Japanese government in the wake of last week’s 9.0 earthquake.

Here’s an updated look at how federal agencies and the military are helping:

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
The U.S. military has about 50,000 personnel stationed in Japan, many of whom are providing disaster assistance. Residents of the military’s Misawa Air Base, Japan, are collecting clothing donations in support of their Japanese neighbors.

The Navy is using P-3 Orion aircraft to survey the wreckage and the Air Force is providing an RQ-4 Global Hawk based in Guam to conduct similar flights.

The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group continues operating off the east coast of the island of Honshu. The USS Tortuga’s MH-53 heavy-lift helicopters carried about 90 Japanese Self-Defense Force vehicles and personnel to the region to assist with recovery efforts.

Other U.S. ships are expected to arrive in the area by Thursday, the Defense Department said.

No U.S. bases are in the danger zone for radioactivity, and there are no plans to evacuate any U.S. personnel or their families, according to the Pentagon.

ENERGY DEPARTMENT:
Thirty-three experts from the department’s National Nuclear Security Administration are in Japan with 17,000 pounds of gear to assist Japanese nuclear experts. The crew deployed from Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas earlier this week (watch video of their deployment, above). The teams will help assess, survey, monitor and sample areas of the country for radiation.

Six other department personnel are also in Japan assisting officials with response efforts.

NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION:
The agency's analysts continue to believe that steps recommended by Japanese authorities regarding evacuations and other safety precautions are consistent with what they would do if a similar disaster occurred in the United States.

Nine NRC experts are in Tokyo providing assistance to the Japanese government, the agency said. The experts, including reactor experts, international affairs professionals and senior managers, are part of U.S. Agency for International Development teams providing assistance as needed. The personnel are assigned to NRC offices in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and the headquarters in Rockville.

The NRC is led by a five-member commission and crafts the nation’s nuclear policies and regulations.

STATE DEPARTMENT:
John Roos, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, issued a message Wednesday to Americans living in Japan, saying the country’s government “has significant expertise — and that’s probably an understatement saying ‘significant.’ They’re one of the most experienced countries in the world with regard to nuclear power and nuclear power plants.”

“The United States government also has significant and massive expertise in the nuclear area. ... The United States has and will continue to provide any support it can in continuing to address the issues as they have arisen,” Roos said.

U.S. citizens in Japan in need of emergency assistance, or people seeking information on the whereabouts of friends, family or colleagues, should send an e-mail to JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov.

U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT:
The federal agency chiefly responsible for assisting foreign governments with disaster response has deployed urban search-and-rescue teams from Fairfax County and Los Angeles to Japan. The rescue teams, which also deployed to Haiti after last year’s quake, include about 150 personnel and 12 dogs trained to find live victims.

USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team is also in Japan coordinating the U.S. government’s response.

RELATED: View images from the disaster in Japan

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By  |  01:56 PM ET, 03/16/2011

Categories:  Agencies and Departments

 
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