US Sailors Sue Claiming Fukushima Disaster Gave Them Cancer

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December 20, 2013 2:07pm PST

More than 50 US sailors are suing Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for contracting cancer while helping Japan during the tsunami that caused the country’s Fukushima nuclear plant to melt down and spew radiation into the ocean.

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US sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Essex have contracted various cancers due to their service. From thyroid and testicular cancer, to leukemia and brain tumors, these young sailors have contracted life-threatening diseases.


The Fukushima disaster.

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The sailors say that they may have contracted these cancers by drinking the desalinated water aboard ship that was made from waters taken from the ocean while they were in and around Japan.

“In a lawsuit filed against Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plaintiffs claim the power company delayed telling the U.S. Navy the tsunami had caused a nuclear meltdown, sending huge amounts of contaminated water into the sea and, ultimately, into the ship’s water system,” Fox News reports.

“At our level, we weren’t told anything,” former USS Reagan quartermaster, Jamie Plym told Fox News. “We were told everything was OK.”

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But now these 50 some sailors are angry and they feel they were lied to.

“I get so angry,” Plym said. “They said as long as the plume was avoided we would be fine. But we knew then that something was going to happen. Common sense tells you that the wind would blow it everywhere. You don’t need to be a nuclear scientist to figure that out.”

A lawyer representing the sailors said, “They went in to help with rescue efforts. They did not go in prepared to deal with radiation containment.”

The sailors and their lawyers are claiming that the Japanese power company hid the full extent of the meltdown and put them in danger.

As Fox reported:

The plaintiffs don’t blame the U.S. Navy, which they believe acted in good faith, Bonner said. It was the plant’s operators who sat on the meltdown information during the crucial hours following the March 11, 2011 disaster, he said.

“TEPCO pursued a policy which caused rescuers, including the plaintiffs, to rush into an unsafe area which was too close to the [Fukushima nuclear power plant] that had been damaged,” Bonner charged in an April filing now being updated to add more plaintiffs. “Relying upon the misrepresentation regarding health and safety made by TEPCO, upon information and belief, the U.S. Navy was lulled into a false sense of security.

“The officers and crew of the U.S.S. Reagan (CVN-76) and other vessels believed that it was safe to operate within the waters adjacent to the FNPP, without doing the kinds of research and testing that would have verified the problems known to the defendant TEPCO at the time.”

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