Washington (CNN) - American officials raised their own questions about the safety of nuclear power Sunday in light of the ongoing nuclear meltdown in Japan.
Democratic Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts, a long-time critic of nuclear power, called for a moratorium on the construction of nuclear power plants in earthquake-prone regions.
The situation in Japan “is calling into question the viability of nuclear power in the United States,” Markey said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We should just be humble in the face of Mother Nature.”
Going forward, Markey said Congress should make it more difficult to pass loan guarantees for new nuclear plants in the United States.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said America will rethink construction locations going forward.
"Certainly where we site reactors - and where we site reactors going forward - will be different than where we might have sited them in the past," Chu said on "Fox News Sunday."
There are six reactors at the nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan, where workers have been struggling to stave off a full meltdown since a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami knocked out cooling systems. The United States houses 104 operating nuclear power reactors, according to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan said all American nuclear plants ought to be tested “very, very carefully to make sure that they are safe and to make sure that this cannot happen here.”
And Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said the coordination between different government agencies needs to be evaluated.
However, Levin and McCain said the country should continue using nuclear power, a hot issue in congressional energy debates.
“Europe depends heavily on it and they have found it to be safe,” Levin said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We use it a lot. We have found it, since Three Mile Island, to be safe.”
“To shut down every nuclear power plant in America because of this tragedy in Japan, or put every ship with a nuclear power plant on it at the pier is overreaction, which is not necessary,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut stressed the safety of the nuclear plants in the United States.
“Every year, at every one of the 104 nuclear power plants in America, there are drills four times a year as to how to respond to an accident or an attack of some kind. There are evacuation plans, there are communication plans, there are plans for getting potassium iodide pills in. So, there's a lot of preparation,” Lieberman said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But frankly, there's some disasters that we'll never be able to fully prepare for.”