Japan's new prime minister has said his government will review earlier plans to phase out nuclear power, while in the U.S. two sailors have sued Tokyo Electric Power Co. alleging the company withheld information on the danger at Fukushima Daiichi during tsunami relief efforts.

Developments in the last week related to the severely damaged nuclear plant include:

Fukushima Daiichi unit 5. Source: TEPCOAbe Will Review Nuclear Phaseout

The prime minister selected by the coalition that won recent parliamentary elections in Japan said he will review decisions to freeze new reactor construction and to eventually phase out the technology. In a speech Dec. 21, Shinzo Abe said he would review the previous administration's nuclear power objectives and promised to determine the best power generation mix for the country within 10 years, the Asahi Shimbun reported. He also promised to make a decision on restarting existing reactors within three years.

U.S. Sailors Sue TEPCO

Eight U.S. sailors who assisted with tsunami relief in Japan recently sued TEPCO in federal court alleging that the utility withheld critical information about the nuclear accident. Kyodo reported that they were serving aboard the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and participated in an assistance mission soon after the earthquake. The sailors' suit claims that they were exposed to radiation because TEPCO issued misleading information about the severity of damage at the plant.

Photo: Niigata Prefecture officials touring the plant inspect the primary containment vessel of unit 5 Dec. 21.