President Obama defends use and safety of nuclear power

March 15, 2011

AP Wires

(Getty/File/Alex Wong)

President Barack Obama is defending nuclear power as an important source of energy in the U.S., even as new questions are raised about its safety following radiation leaks from an earthquake and tsunami-damaged nuclear plant in Japan. 

In an interview with Pittsburgh television station KDKA, Obama says nuclear facilities in the U.S. are closely monitored and are designed to withstand certain levels of earthquakes. 

However, Obama says all energy sources have downsides and none are foolproof. He says the U.S. learned that last summer during the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Obama says he has been assured that Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast will not be affected by radiation released from the damaged plant in Japan.