The Discrepancy Between US and Japanese Recommendations and the Situation in Japan -- Today’s Q’s for O’s WH: 3/16/201

TAPPER: Just to be clear, those Americans in Japan who listened to the Japanese government and stayed 20 kilometers outside the reactor and don't listen to the U.S. government and go 80 kilometers outside of the reactor, they are taking risks with their lives that they should not?

CARNEY: We are advising -- I think I'm being clear about this. We are advising based on new information and a deteriorating and fast-moving situation at a nuclear-reactor site in Japan that American citizens within a 50-mile radius of that plant should evacuate beyond the 50-mile mark. And that -- and that is our advice to American citizens.

TAPPER: That recommendation suggests that the information coming from the Japanese government is inadequate.

CARNEY: It is -- that recommendation suggests that the advice the Japanese government is giving, based on the information it has, is different from the advice that we would be giving if this incident were happening in the United States of America. It is not about the quality of information; it is about the standards set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission here in the United States and the kind of advice it would be giving should this incident happen in the United States, or something similar to it.

So it is, again, not about the quality of information or the level of cooperation. It is about our analysis and our standards.

TAPPER: We have higher standards?

CARNEY: It's not about high or low, Jake. I'm just simply saying that this is our advice based on the information that we have.

TAPPER: The European energy commissioner said today, quote, talking about Japan, “there's talk of an apocalypse, and I think the word is particularly well chosen, practically everything is out of control, I cannot exclude the worst in the hours and days to come.”

What is going on over there right now? We have not heard the latest in information from the NRC or from the Japanese government. And apparently there has been something that has happened in the last few hours.

CARNEY: Well, it is clearly a crisis. There is clearly --

TAPPER: We know it’s a crisis, we know it’s deteriorating, but what specifically is going on?

CARNEY: And -- well, again, I'm standing here at the White House. I think you have reporters in Japan. You have reporters, including ones here, who could get the technical detailed information on what we know from the NRC, from the Department of Energy.

TAPPER: We should rely on the media and not the government?

CARNEY: No, no. I just referred to government agencies who -- that can provide technical information about what we know that's happening. But it is obviously a fluid situation. I'm not -- we make no bones about the fact that this is a very serious situation at this nuclear plant.

-Jake Tapper

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