University of Arizona public forum on Japan disaster

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Japan is still struggling to recover after an earthquake and tsunami shook and slammed the island nation.

The University of Arizona held a free public forum to discuss the causes and consequences of those events.

As part of that forum Tuesday night, five experts, including four University of Arizona professors, gave their thoughts on the science behind the quake, tsunami and the nuclear crisis.

And by the size of the crowd at the panel discussion, its clear Japan's catastrophe has had a major impact on people in the U.S.

The tragic events that occurred in Japan earlier this month received world-wide attention.

People who turned out for the "Science Now" event received expert information.

"All together we are going to try and talk about a lot of the different issues associated with not just the earthquake and tsunami, but the health risk and some of the damage at the power plants and what's really happening," said UA Professor Susan Beck.

Beck specializes in earthquake and tsunami research.

"I hope that they will sort of see our perspective of some of the things we think are important and some of the things we sorted through will show them what we think is behind the earthquake," said Beck.

One of the top topics Tuesday night was the effect of radiation from Japan.

"Yes its a word that evokes reactions and we're kind of trained to fear the radiation," said UA Professor Dr. Baldassarre Stea.

That fear has led many people to think that it could be spread over to the U.S.

"Its mostly the radiation workers, the people working the crippled power plant that are being exposed to high levels and those may be the casualties of this unfortunate event," said Stea.

Despite the three catastrophic events.  The experts feel that Japan has recovered from tragic event in the past and the land of the rising sun will rise again.

"We know that they are resilient people and they will make a comeback.  It's a fixable problem," said Dr. Stea.

That recovery of Japan is starting to show with reports of flights once again being allowed in the country.

Which could mean more supplies and help for the Japanese.

It couldn't happen here.  That promise came from the operators of Palo Verde nuclear generating station.

In wake of the situation in Japan, officials with Arizona Public Service assured the Arizona Corporation Commission something similar could not happen at the nuclear power plant 50 miles west of Phoenix.

APS officials cited redundant power sources, and an ample supply of water as two reasons why a Fukushima-style disaster could not occur at Palo Verde.

Palo Verde will be included in a nation-wide review of more than one hundred reactors by nuclear regulators.