We do not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska, or American territories in the Pacific.More from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
It looks like a power line is almost installed to Fukushima. This is extremely important, because it will allow the cooling-water pumps to operate. It was losing this power that caused the crisis.
Video of the damaged buildings from a helicopter.
How likely is a fire in the spent fuel pools? Experts seem to disagree.
I'm not sure what the situation is in Japan, but spent fuel rods are stored at reactors in the United States because they have nowhere to go. At one time, they were to be stored in Yucca Mountain, and that facility is close to being ready to open. But politics have put that off the table. Another possibility is that they might be reprocessed (or recycled, as the industry is now putting it). After Fukushima, there will be questions about the wisdom of storing spent fuel at reactors. Update: According to the New York Times, Japan has been doing what the US has been doing: storing most of their spent fuel in these pools at reactors. (Some of the rest of that article seems not quite reliable.)