May 16, 2011 / 10:09 PM / in 7 years

US NRC ends emergency monitoring of Japan crisis

* NRC moving monitoring from 24-hour operations center

* Will continue to provide some support for Japan crisis

WASHINGTON, May 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. nuclear regulator is ending its around-the-clock emergency monitoring of the Japanese nuclear crisis as the situation there slowly begins to stabilize, the agency said on Monday.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it will continue to keep a small team of staff in Japan and coordinate response efforts with other federal agencies, but it will shift these activities to its Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation from its 24-hour operations center.

“The conditions at the Japanese reactors are slowly stabilizing,” NRC Executive Director for Operations Bill Borchardt said in a statement.

“As conditions have continued to improve and the Japanese continue to implement their recovery plan, the NRC has determined that it is time to adjust our response,” he said.

The NRC began monitoring the Japanese crisis after a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11 knocked out power to Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi complex causing its reactors to overheat.

At that time, there was concern that the accident at the facility could send significant amounts of radiation to the U.S. West Coast or Hawaii, but those fears did not materialize.

Japanese officials are still working to contain radiation that continues to leak from the wrecked plant. [ID:nL4E7GG2NL] (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by David Gregorio)

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