Obama: No danger of Japan's nuclear fallout reaching U.S.

Any fallout from a potential nuclear meltdown in Japan won't affect Americans, President Obama said Tuesday.

Obama said that U.S. territories, even as far west as Hawaii, are out of the danger zone from any kind of nuclear release from the seriously damaged nuclear reactors that have been teetering on the verge of meltdown since last week's earthquake.

"There are some dangers for radiation release that could affect the immediate vicinity of the nuclear plants, and could potentially drift over other parts of Japan," Obama said in an interview with KDKA television in Pittsburgh. "But I've been assured that any nuclear release dissipates by the time it gets to Hawaii, much less the mainland of the United States."

Japanese workers have been fighting since last Friday's earthquake seriously damaged the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The plant has suffered explosions that released higher-than-recommended amounts of radiation into the atmosphere.

But workers have -- so far -- been able to prevent a full meltdown, the fallout from which could enter the atmosphere, and carry with wind currents.

Obama said flatly that he's not concerned about radiation reaching the United States, though he said he's seriously worried about the effects that such a release would have on Japan, which was rocked by the earthquake and a subsequent tsunami.

Some lawmakers have called for a more caution in dealing out new nuclear permits in the wake of Japan's earthquake, while others have said they still wish to push ahead with increased nuclear energy production.

Obama said that the situation in Japan provides an opportunity for the U.S. to reevaluate its own security procedures.

"One of the things that it reminds us of is that the safety and the constant monitoring and oversight that we're providing to our nuclear facilities here in the United States has to be maintained,” the president told KOAT television in Albuquerque. “We have a budget for it. I've already instructed our Nuclear Regulatory Agency to make sure that we take lessons learned from what's happened in Japan and that we are constantly upgrading how we approach our nuclear safety in our country."