U.S. Navy Sailors Sue TEPCO over Cluster-Fukushima Snafu
By William Boardman --Reader Supported News
"Why has this not made national headlines??? The Aircraft Carrier Ronald Reagan is nuclear powered. Radiation detection equipment did not pick up on this?? Why have these sailors and marines medical records been removed from permanent tracking. Criminal implications galore. This should be all over mainstream media. Someone please forward all these ene reports to the media". Tepco is the lowest of snakes. Hari Kari for the lot of em!!"
--comment on enenews, August 15, 2013, by "timemachine2020"
Fukushima lawsuit of 2012 comes as news to too much of the public
The story referred to in the enenews.com comment above has had some coverage by Energy News, Tuner Radio Network, Stars and Stripes and a few others, but coverage, if any, by mainstream media is scant to none. All the same, it's a real story, with real villains (TEPCO, Japanese government, U.S. Navy for starters), and real victims (a growing number of American service personnel put in harm's way and abandoned by their government when things got tough).
The core of this story is the lawsuit filed December 21, 2012, by attorney Paul C, Garner of Brooks & Associates of Encinatas, California, on behalf of nine plaintiffs (including a one-year-old), all of whom "were among the members of the U.S. Navy crew and attached to the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), whose home port was San Diego, California, when they were exposed to radiation off the coast at Fukushima prefecture, Japan, whereat the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant is located, on and after March 11, 2011, during the mission known as "Operation Tomodachi.'" The plaintiffs are seeking $40 million each in damages as well as a fund of more than a billion dollars to be used for their future medical expenses, and requested a jury trial. On November 26, federal judge Janis Sammartino dismissed the complaint on narrow jurisdictional grounds and plaintiffs plan to re-file in January within the judge's stated parameters.
The U.S.S. Reagan is a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a crew of about 5,000 that arrived off the coast of Fukushima the day after the tsunami with other ships as part of Operation Tomodachi, or "friend" in Japanese.
On March 11, 2011, an earthquake near Fukushima caused a tsunami that killed an estimated 19,000 people and swamped the Fukushima nuclear power plant. In the aftermath of the tsunami, three of the six reactors at Fukushima melted down, releasing radiation into the air, ground, and water. The precise sequence of events remains unclear, but the Japanese government and TEPCO (the Tokyo Electric Power Company, a wholly owned public benefit subsidiary of the government of Japan) were not being fully forthcoming about the danger as the disaster developed.
Japanese officials apparently lied to everyone about the damage
Although the potential seriousness of the Fukushima accident was widely apparent, Japanese officials publicly and privately minimized the danger for as long as they could, lying to their own people and rescue personnel from other countries alike. At the time, the first meltdown was thought to have happened on March 12. But on December 12, 2013, Naoto Kan, the former prime minister who was in office at the time, told a meeting of the Japan Press Club that his government had known that "the first meltdown occurred five hours after the earthquake" which hit at 14:46 on March 11.
The U.S.S. Reagan and accompanying ships were coming into an environment where radiation levels in the air and water were far higher than the Navy was being told officially. That lying is at the heart of the lawsuit against TEPCO, which was exposing its own workers to even greater risks than U.S. Sailors. The lawsuit argues that TEPCO's lies led the U.S. Navy to sail unknowingly into intensely and dangerously radioactive waters.
True as that may be, it fails to explain why the Navy would be so trusting and negligent in the first place. The Reagan is a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Its officers and crew are or should be more sensitive than most to radioactive risk under all conditions, but especially when approaching a damaged nuclear power plant, and operating downwind of Fukushima.
For days (it's not clear how many), U.S. sailors were going into the radioactive ocean to save people swept out to sea by the tsunami. Sailors were drinking and bathing in desalinated ocean water until someone figured out it was radioactive. Sailors washed planes and surfaces of the ship that were radioactive. How do the people in charge of the Reagan not know they're in a radioactive environment without being negligent?
U.S. Seventh Fleet Public Affairs issues incredible press release
On March 14, 2011, without explaining what woke them up to the danger, which they minimized anyway, Navy officials issued a press release that began: