While some are calling Japan’s nuclear nightmare a wake-up call for the United States, Energy Secretary Steven Chu says that reactors in the United States are safe — though lessons from the disaster in Japan will help strengthen America’s nuclear industry.

“The American people should have full confidence that the United States has rigorous safety regulations in place to ensure that our nuclear power is generated safely and responsibly," Chu told the House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development during a hearing on the Obama administration's fiscal 2012 budget request, adding that information about the events unfolding in Japan was still coming in, but the administration is committed to learning from Japan' s experience as it works to continue to strengthen America's nuclear industry.

"We need to take a hard look at any lesson learned from this tragedy that can further improve the safety of our reactors," Chu said.

This aerial view shows damage to Wakuya, Japan, after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated the area in northern Japan.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy/Alexander Tidd