ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – University of Michigan experts will conduct a panel discussion on Friday that focuses on the efforts to extinguish fires at a burning nuclear power plant in Japan. At one plant, the fuel rods are completely exposed, which increases the risk of a meltdown.

The United States is home to 104 nuclear power reactors, and operators are seeking permission to build at least 20 more. The issue of U.S. nuclear safety has come into focus following the Japan quake.

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Bill Martin, Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, explained his thoughts about nuclear danger in Michigan.

“We are already more serious than Three Mile Island but we are nowhere near in the scope of, or the magnitude, of Chernobyl. And I hope it stays that way,” Martin said.

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Martin says they want to discuss the best and worst case scenarios for what is happening at the nuclear plant in Japan.

The panel will feature faculty members from the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Department.

The discussion will take place beginning at 4 pm on March 18 at the White Auditorium in the Cooley Building (2355 Bonisteel Blvd., Ann Arbor) on the University’s North Campus. A map is available at this link.

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Get the latest from CBS News on the catastrophe at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant at this link.