The crisis in Japan has spawned new looks at — and revived old debates about — U.S. nuclear plants and how prepared they are for natural or man-made disasters.
Five out of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex share the design General Electric created decades ago to serve as a smaller, less expensive alternative to what competitors were offering.
Officials have called on plant operators to make major improvements to the GE model to help it hold up in an extreme accident.
The Japan crisis, which began with an electricity outage, has also drawn attention to backup power. Experts say that the tsunami either waterlogged backup diesel generators, destroyed fuel tanks or flooded switch gears needed to hook up the generators — or all three.