WASHINGTON -- Recent reports by defecting workers at a nuclear power plant under construction in Cuba were the "first real indication" of potential safety problems, a Bush administration official told members of Congress yesterday.
Michael Kozak, a deputy assistant secretary of state, told members of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on inter-American affairs that the examples cited by the defectors of serious flaws at the nuclear plant are cause for concern, but not for panic.
Kozak said that the administration intends to contact the government of Fidel Castro about the safety of the Soviet-designed reactor.
Until now, Kozak said, the United States has relied primarily on Cuba's acceptance of International Atomic Energy Agency monitoring of the project near Cuba's south coast port of Cienfuegos, 150 miles south of Florida. The plant site also was visited in 1989 by a representative of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.