WASHINGTON – The United States should "put the brakes" on the development of nuclear power plants as the disaster in Japan unfolds, key US senator Joe Lieberman said Sunday.
"I've been a big supporter of nuclear power because it's domestic -- it's ours and it's clean," Lieberman told the CBS News television program "Face The Nation."
"We've had a good safety (record) with nuclear power plants here in the United States," he said.
Still, "I think we've got to kind of quietly and quickly put the brakes on until we can absorb what has happened in Japan as a result of the earthquake and the tsunami and then see what more, if anything, we can demand of the new power plants that are coming online," said Lieberman, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
Friday's devastating 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami sparked an emergency at two of Japan's nuclear power plants, leading to the risk of catastrophic meltdowns.
In the first incident, part of a reactor at Japan's aging Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant blew up Saturday, a day after the biggest quake ever recorded in Japan unleashed a 10-meter (33-foot) tsunami.
On Sunday, excessive levels of radiation were recorded at a second Japanese nuclear facility, Onagawa, although authorities insisted the facility's three reactor units were "under control."