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Lawsuit against TEPCO by US service personnel affected by Fukushima radiation

Sailors were drinking desalinated seawater and bathing in it until the ship’s leadership came over the public address system and told them to stop because it was contaminated, Hair said. They were told the ventilation system was contaminated, and he claims he was pressured into signing a form that said he had been given an iodine pill even though none had been provided. As a low-ranking sailor, he believed he had no choice.

The Navy has acknowledged that the Reagan passed through a plume of radiation 

The Defense Department created the Operation Tomodachi Registry to show radiation dose estimates based on shore locations — and to list more than 70,000 DOD-affiliated people in the area March 12-May 11, 2011 and their individual exposure levels. More than two years after the disaster, the registry remains incomplete.

In growing lawsuit, service members fault TEPCO for radiation-related illnesses By Matthew M. Burke Stars and Stripes July 15, 2013 SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Five months after participating in humanitarian operations for the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that led to nuclear disaster in Japan, Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel Hair’s body began to betray him.

Hair,-Daniel-1

He had sharp hip pains, constant scabbing in his nose, back pain, memory loss, severe anxiety and a constant high-pitch ringing in his
ears as his immune system began to attack his body. The diagnosis, he said, was a genetic immune system disease, which on X-rays looked to have made his hip joint jagged and his spine arthritic. He was put on a host of medications and eventually separated from the Navy job heloved.

Hair believes radiation is the cause. He is among 50 sailors and Marines in a growing lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Co., alleging that Japan’s nationalized utility mishandled the meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant that spewed radiation into the air and water.

Other servicemembers have been diagnosed with leukemia, testicular cancer and thyroid problems or experienced rectal and gynecologicalbleeding, the lawsuit says. Hair said one of his friends, a fellow USS Ronald Reagan shipmate, was diagnosed with a brain tumor……..
The plaintiffs allege that TEPCO lied about the risk of exposure, luring American forces closer to the affected areas and lulling others
at bases across Japan to disregard safety measures. They are seeking at least $40 million each in compensatory and punitive damages and more than $1 billion for a fund to cover health monitoring and medical expenses.

They will be in federal court in San Diego on Oct. 3 to fight a TEPCO
motion for a change of venue to Tokyo and a motion to dismiss, Garner
said.

Most of the plaintiffs contacted by Stars and Stripes did not return
messages. Several said they were being threatened and harassed through
anonymous phone calls and social media for bringing the suit and
declined to comment. The plaintiffs have been accused of being
fortune-seekers by their peers and for allegedly sullying the
operation’s goodwill……..
The Reagan passed through debris as far as the eye could see: wood,
refrigerators, car tires, roofs of houses with people riding on them.
Hair was told they were five to 10 miles off the coast from Fukushima,
which had been damaged by a massive tsunami spawned by the quake.

Sailors were drinking desalinated seawater and bathing in it until the ship’s leadership came over the public address system and told them to stop because it was contaminated, Hair said. They were told the ventilation system was contaminated, and he claims he was pressured
into signing a form that said he had been given an iodine pill even though none had been provided. As a low-ranking sailor, he believed he
had no choice.

The Navy has acknowledged that the Reagan passed through a plume of radiation but declined to comment on the details in Hair’s
story……..
Shortly after the disaster, Senior Chief Mike Sebourn was sent from
his home base, Naval Air Facility Atsugi, to Misawa Air Base, 200
miles from the faltering power plant. As a designated radiation
decontamination officer, he dealt with aircraft and personnel that had
flown into the area.

Sebourn, with only two days of training, was tasked with testing seven
points on an aircraft’s skin for radiation. He and others crawled all
over the crafts for months, he said, with only gloves for protection.
At one point, he said, they took the radiator out of one aircraft and
tested it. The radiation was four times greater than what should have
required them to wear a suit and respirator, he said.

The level of radiation “was incredibly dangerous,” Sebourn said. “Navy
aviation had never dealt with radiation before. Nobody knew what to
do. Nobody knew what was safe. It was a nightmare.”

Sebourn said he suffered nose bleeds, headaches and nausea in the
immediate aftermath — symptoms consistent with radiation poisoning.
Months later, he felt weak in his right arm; excruciating pain
followed. He said the command fitness leader in charge of physical
training at Atsugi watched as his arm atrophied to about half its
size.

“I have issues that can’t be explained,” Sebourn said. “It just seems
like I am deteriorating.”……..
Sebourn is alarmed that the word “radiation” doesn’t appear anywhere
in his service record, even though that was his job and he was exposed
to it. He believed troops exposed would be red-flagged in their
service records and be tracked for medical problems.

The Defense Department created the Operation Tomodachi Registry to show radiation dose estimates based on shore locations — and to list more than 70,000 DOD-affiliated people in the area March 12-May 11, 2011 and their individual exposure levels. More than two years after the disaster, the registry remains incomplete.

They hope to release the data for ship-based personnel this month,
Craig Postlewaite, director for Defense Department Force Readiness and
Health Assurance, wrote in a statement to Stars and
Stripes.http://www.stripes.com/in-growing-lawsuit-servicemembers-fault-tepco-for-radiation-related-illnesses-1.230512

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July 18, 2013 - Posted by | Legal, USA

1 Comment »

  1. Remember this is a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier Fleet, so they had the technology and training to ID all radioactive contaminates they were exposed to! These Lawyers need to do a FOI request to the US Navy and ask them what levels of what radionuclides were detected when and what their orders were concerning protecting their personnel and ships! Who were given iodine pills when and what were their ranks? What about aircraft contamination, where are these aircraft now?

    Salute to all Servicemen and Servicewomen…

    Politics should not trump Nuclear Safety!

    BTW: Another thing that these Lawyers need to find out is what happened to the large US barge that contained clean water that the US Navy towed to Fukushima right after 3/11/11.

    What was it’s vessel number, where is it now and what is its condition?

    Was it given to Japan and/or was it sunk (if so where) to get rid of it?

    Comment by CaptD | August 10, 2013 | Reply


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