“We have found no reason to take any immediate regulatory action,” he said.
The commission will vote on a plan to conduct a 90-day study of the implications of the Japanese situation for the United States.
“We have a responsibility to the American people to undertake a systematic and methodical review of the safety of our own domestic nuclear facilities in light of the natural disaster and the resulting nuclear emergency in Japan,” NRC Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko said.
So far, 8,928 people have died and 12,664 are missing since the 9.0-magnitude quake struck off the coast near Sendai, Japan’s National Police Agency said. Nearly 350,000 others have been placed in shelters across the region and as far away as Tokyo.
(PHOTOS: Massive rescue, cleanup efforts underway in Japan)
Martin Faller, head of the East Asia delegation of the International Red Cross, said Monday that fuel is scarce and that many people are suffering in the cold weather. Food has become more plentiful, but many elderly people are running low on medicine.
“It was really cold in the operation shelters, logistics had broken down, fuel and kerosene were difficult to get,” Faller said in an interview.
Government authorities said they have banned the sale of raw milk and spinach from several prefectures after they were found to contain excessive levels of radiation. The officials said the amounts still did not pose a threat to people’s health if consumed. Government scientists are now examining fish and shellfish, said Yoshifumi Kaji, director of the inspection and safety division of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
The ministry called on local governments Monday to advise residents to stop giving babies water in forms such as baby formula if radioactive iodine is found at elevated levels in drinking water, the Kyodo news service reported.
“Babies can easily absorb radioactive iodine in their thyroid glands,” the agency quoted a ministry official as saying.
Greater amounts of radioactive iodine and cesium were found in rain, dust and particles in the air in some areas over a 24-hour period starting Sunday morning because of rainfall, the agency reported.
Achenbach reported from Washington. Staff writer Rob Stein in Washington contributed to this report.