(Organic Slant) Eight sailors from the carrier Ronald Reagan are suing the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) for allegedly lying about the danger from radiation caused by the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant.
The suit, filed December 21 in U.S. District Court Southern District of California, alleges that the sailors -- among some 5,500 who were aboard the USS Ronald Reagan as it was providing aid to the stricken zone -- were themselves sickened as a result of exposure to radiation that escaped from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP).
The ship was involved in disaster relief operations after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that led to the nuclear catastrophe and left devastation in regions of Japan. Each of the eight sailors is seeking $10 million in damages, $30 million in punitive damages and creation of a $100 million fund to pay for medical testing and treatments, according to a complaint filed in U.S. federal court in San Diego.
Eight sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan are suing Japan’s nationalized Tokyo Electric Power Co., claiming it lied about dangers from a radiation leak when they helped out after last year’s nuclear plant disaster and that they will almost certainly die prematurely as a result.
Their complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, seeks a jury trial and damages of $40 million each for being “rendered infirm” and their bodies being “poisoned” by radiation. It was filed on behalf of Lindsay Cooper, James Sutton, Kim Gieseking, Charles Yarris, Robert Miller, Christopher Bittner, Eric Membrila and Judy Goodwin.
Within days of the March 11, 2011, earthquake, tsunami and subsequent radiation leak from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, the USS Ronald Reagan was aiding in the search for survivors and bodies from just off Japan’s devastated east coast.
Six of the eight sailors worked on the flight deck during the operation and two worked in the air contamination department. Gieseking is also suing on behalf of her daughter, Autumn, who was born shortly after the deployment.
The sailors allege a host of medical conditions, from headaches and difficulty concentrating to rectal bleeding and thyroid problems, as a result of the exposure and say they will have to undergo more medical tests and expensive treatments in the future, their lawyer Paul Garner said Thursday. The sailors also want TEPCO, which has an office in Washington, D.C., to establish a $100 million fund to pay for any of their future medical expenses.
While the utility has settled with the families of Japanese citizens who died during evacuations from the affected region, and the Japanese government has guaranteed payments, this appears to be the first lawsuit involving American servicemembers, Garner said. The suit’s allegations include negligence and being a public nuisance.
“TEPCO and the government of Japan conspired and acted in concert, among other things, to create an illusory impression that the extent of the radiation that had leaked from the site of the FNPP was at levels that would not pose a threat to the plaintiffs, in order to promote its interests and those of the government of Japan, knowing that the information it disseminated was defective, incomplete and untrue, while omitting to disclose the extraordinary risks posed to the plaintiffs who were carrying out their assigned duties aboard the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan,” according to the complaint.
It said data available to TEPCO indicated that radiation levels already had surpassed what “those living the same distance from Chernobyl experienced who subsequently developed cancer.”
Garner said internal TEPCO memos, experts, news articles and other documents substantiate their case that the utility lied, covered up the scope of the problem and distributed skewed data.
There were about 70,000 U.S. servicemembers, family members and civilians on or near the mainland during the 60 days following the disaster. The Defense Department has acknowledged that some servicemembers experienced elevated levels of radiation but says they weren’t high enough to make people sick.
Garner said he was originally approached by Cooper, who was reluctant to follow through with a suit. He then talked to others from the Reagan and found many suffered problems, including one sailor who already has cancer. Garner has linked up with an environmental toxicologist for a study to see how widespread the issues are.
“We just want the facts,” Garner said. “Their approach since the beginning has been to deny ... the truth will come out.”
United Sates District Court Southern District Of California: LINDSAY R. COOPER, JAMES R. SUTTON, KIM GIESEKING< AUTUMN GIESEKING, AN INFANT BY HER MOTHER AND NATURAL GUARDIAN, KIM GIESEKING, CHARLES A. YARRIS, ROBERT M. MILLER, CHRISTOPHER G. BITTNER, ERIC MEMBRILA, and JUDY GOODWIN, Plaintiffs, -against- TOKYO ELECTRIC POWER COMPANY, INC. aka TEPCO, Defendant.
Operation Tomodachi Registry
The Department of Defense (DOD) began establishing the Operation Tomodachi Registry following the devastating March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. These unfortunate events caused severe damage to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which resulted in the release of radiation into the environment. This Registry will include the names of nearly 70,000 DOD-affiliated individuals who were on or near the mainland of Japan during the period from March 12, 2011 to May 11, 2011 along with radiation exposure estimates for each of these individuals.
The Operation Tomodachi Registry is being completed in phases. This website provides radiation exposure estimates for 13 different shore-based locations. Those locations were selected since most of the members of the DOD-affiliated population resided on or near the 13 DOD installations in Japan or in the cities represented.
Final radiation dose estimates are expected to be available by the end of 2012. These estimates may include updates to dose estimates for shore-based locations as well as dose estimates for U.S. Navy ships located off the mainland of Japan during the March 12 through May 11, 2011 timeframe. By the end of 2012, radiation doses are also expected to be available for upwards of 8,000 individuals who had their external or internal radiation measured directly.
The US Navy sailors won't be successful at this lawsuit, but maybe it will help "UP" the awareness of how many thousands have real health issues caused by this disaster! This is still a major problem, yet you hardly get any information about the dangers still existing NOW!
This is just the tip of the Fukushima iceberg. 1/3 above, 2/3 below.
USS Roanald Reagan Facebook Page
March 11, 2011 | Family & Friends- your Sailors and Marines onboard are safe. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our close friends in Japan during this difficult time.
- Comment from Melva Lopez: My precious cargo is aboard my 3 girls my daughter adopted 2 shipmates so their my girls turn to be a sailors Thank god. Their safe and RE is doing what they do best help and our sailors showing the world how the US NAVY rolls March 11, 2011 at 12:11pm
USS Roanald Reagan measured 0.6mR/hr direct gamma shime from clouds 130 miles from Fukushima Daiichi
Official Transcript of Proceedings | NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION | Title: Japan's Fukushima Daiichi ET Audio File | Date Sunday, March 13, 2011
March 13th, 2011 UPDATE from 07:30 telecon - Fukushima Daiichi - USS Ronald Reagan picking up airborne contamination
- Interesting to see if the ships carried enough potassium iodide for the crew members.
- Did the ship doctors order everyone to take the pills?
- If radiation is harmless, why go through such extreme measures.
- Any sort of contamination should be cleaned up as fast as possible. Radiation damage is permanent and cumulative. The contaminated particles most likely include alpha emitters. Now alpha radiation can be stopped by a piece of paper, or by the upper layer of dead skin on your body. However, if inhaled, alpha radiation has free reign on your body.
- These sailors are stationed on the USS Ronald Reagan, a NUCLEAR-POWERED CARRIER. Do you really think they didn't know about radiation, or have rad meters and checkups?
- Where is the VA in all of this, especially for medical care?
- The type of fall out that Fukushima spewed upon innocent people is comprised of complete different isotopes. Comparing it to ambiant radiation, flights from Paris to NY is misleading the general public, or is clueless, at best. There are hot particles flying all over Japan (all the way down to Shizuoka, and hotspots in Tokyo that are comparable to some areas in Fukushima. No one talks about internal radiation as usual (food comes to mind) and completely omit the proven presence of Plutonium, Cobalt, Strontium etc ....
Unfortunately in the eyes of the law, Sailors are nothing more than federal inventory!!!