A Uof I nuclear engineer says the situation in Japan could very well hault the nuclear energy program here in the U.S. for a while.  Several experts say the Japanese authorities are underplaying the severity of the incident there, particularly on a scale called INES used to rank nuclear incidents. The Japanese have so far rated the accident a four on a one-to-seven scale, but that rating was issued on Saturday and since then the situation has worsened dramatically.  Meanwhile in the U.S. The debate over the safety of our own plants continues. Dr. Akira Tokuhiro, a professor of Nuclear Engineering at the University of Idaho, says it may be a while before we see any more plants being built here in the U.S.  There are also concerns about the locations of some of the nuclear plants here in the U.S. particularly those in California which are either built on or close to the San Andres fault. Dr. Tokuhiro says the million dollar question for engineers is would they still function after a quake like the one that hit Japan.   There's also a lot of fear about radiation from the Japanese facilities reaching the u.s. While Dr. Tokurio says the chances are slim because of the distance, a lot depends on the wind streams and just how much radiation escapes from the plant.

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