PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As the struggle continues in Japan, debate is underway about the future of nuclear power here.

He’s one of the nation’s top engineering experts. Dr. Andy Jackson of the University of Pennsylvania says all the talk about ending a move toward more nuclear power is just plain wrong.

“For a start we have a hundred operating plants in the United States that are generating 20 percent of our electricity. And that’s going to continue. We’re not going to shut those down. The Chinese are building a reactor based on a much more modern design. So technology has moved on. We are looking at reactors here that are from the 1960’s – early 1970’s. Technology has moved on.”

Dr. Jackson points out that it was the water, the tsunami that cut the electricity to the Japanese nuclear plants, which would mean that inland nuclear plants in our country would be safe from earthquake damage.

But if there should be a disaster, Dr. Esther Chernak of the department of public health at Drexel University says think about getting a plan with people in mind.

“The person who is most likely to come to your aid in an emergency isn’t necessarily the first responder but it’s your neighbor. So developing a sensibility about taking care of your neighbors, getting your neighbors’ contact information, school friends etc. But making sure people in communities know of each other and look out for each other.”

Listen to extended interview:

Reported By Special Contributor Larry Kane, KYW Newsradio.

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