US nuclear carrier arrives in Japan

Tokyo, Oct 1 (IANS) Nuclear-powered supercarrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, on Thursday arrived for deployment in Yokosuka, near Tokyo, the Japanese capital, the media reported.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier will replace the previously deployed USS George Washington, NHK news agency reported.

The carrier anchored at a US naval base in Yokosuka , a month after leaving base in San Diego, California on August 31.

The Ronald Reagan is one of 10 nuclear-powered carriers owned by the US Navy. It has two pressurised water reactors, the same type used by most reactors at Japan’s nuclear power plants.

At a news conference at the quay, US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus referred to the recent enactment of Japan’s national security legislation. He said the navy is very supportive of the legislation and it will deepen and strengthen relations with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (SDF).

The Reagan’s commanding officer Chris Bolt said US nuclear-powered carriers were operated under the most rigorous rules in the world and that he was 100 percent confident about the carrier’s safety.

Local residents protested the deployment, saying safety measures were insufficient to deal with an accident.

The Reagan was likely to be used to monitor the activities of North Korea and China in the region.

The carrier took part in “Operation Tomodachi”, helping areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan in March 2011.

The George Washington was the first nuclear-powered carrier deployed in Japan. It returned to the US in May for maintenance.

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