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Part 1, Fukushima: U.S. Class Action Lawsuit Against TEPCO

© 2014 by Linda Moulton Howe

 


Amended class action lawsuit filed in San Diego Federal Court on February 6, 2014,
on behalf of the 5,500 sailors and marines who arrived near the Fukushima shore on
March 13, 2011, aboard the USS Reagan as first responders to Japan's 3/11/11 disaster
amid the wind-blown radiation from TEPCO nuclear power Units 1, 2 and 3 meltdowns.

 

“We thought based on what we had heard about the TEPCO reactors
that we would not detect that level of radiation at 25 miles. So the radiation
was much greater than what we had thought. We did not think we would
detect anything at 100 miles, and yet, at 100 miles it was 30 times more than normal.”

- U. S. Navy Troy Mueller, Patrol Director, Naval Reactors


Sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan scrubbed the external surfaces of the flight deck
and island superstructure to remove potential radiation contamination on March 23, 2011,
while at sea off the coast of Japan, where the aircraft carrier was providing
humanitarian assistance as directed in support of Operation Tomodachi, which
means “Friend” in Japanese. Image by Nicholas Groesch, U. S. Navy.


March 27, 2014 San Diego, California - Three years ago on Friday, March 11, 2011, at
2:46 PM local time in northeastern Japan, a massive 9.0 earthquake unleashed a 30 to nearly 50-foot-high tsunami that hit only twenty minutes later and swept 6 miles inland over Japanese towns and farm land. More than 18,000 people died or were missing and at least 160,000 people were forced to evacuate.


Natori City a bit south of Sendai in northeastern Japan was flooded by
33-foot-high tsunami twenty minutes after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake
unleashed at 2:46 PM local time at epicenter on Friday, March 11, 2011,
80 miles east of the Japanese northeastern coast. The rapid tsunami swept 6 miles
into Japan towns and farmland. This is the largest seismic
event in Japan's history. Image © 2011 by AP /Kyodo News.


Red circle marks epicenter of the Japanese earthquake about
80 miles east of Sendai. Pink circle marks the damaged Fukushima Daiichi
and Fukushima Daini nuclear power plants southwest of Sendai and about
160 miles northeast of Tokyo. Greenish-blue shore is where 33-foot-high tsunami
overwhelmed houses, buildings, boats, cars, animals and people
for 6 miles inward. Map by Zimbio.

This was the largest seismic event in Japan's history and like a slow motion train wreck, its severe damage continues to unfold today from the three nuclear reactor cores that melted down at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. in Fukushima right next to the Pacific Ocean.


August 20, 2013: This aerial shows the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant at Okuma
in Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan on the Pacific Ocean. Image © 2013 by AP.

The next day on March 12, 2011, Earthfiles.com reported the breaking news that there was a “meltdown threat at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1.” But what the U. S. Navy and world did not know was that TEPCO was not telling the whole truth — that Unit 1 began melting down the day before on March 11th only four hours after the quake and tsunami hit. That TEPCO pattern of keeping the worst facts from the public, media and the world persisted to this day. Only recently in 2014 has TEPCO admitted that their calculations were in error by a factor of 5! So, we don't know the true levels of the March 11, 2011, radiation exposure inside and around the TEPCO power plant, but finally TEPCO is admitting it was much higher than they reported at the time.

On March 13, 2011, two days after the quake and tsunami, the USS Ronald Reagan arrived with 5,500 sailors and marines as first responders to help give aid in what was called “Operation Tomodachi,” which ironically in Japan means “Friend.” The USS Reagan is a nuclear-powered ship and the crew was knowledgeable about measuring radiation. To their surprise their equipment showed that even at 100 miles from the Japanese shore the radiation levels detected were 30 times higher than normal — much higher than what TEPCO and the Japanese government had reported.

Today more than 100 injured and very sick young sailors and marines, who were exposed to the radiation on the USS Reagan, have joined as plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit first filed in 2012 and amended on February 6, 2014, alleging TEPCO's false statements and negligence and seeking a $1 billion medical fund to provide treatment for all affected military and their families. TEPCO has until March 31st to respond, according to Paul Garner, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.  Congress has given Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Jonathan Woodson until April 15, 2014, to submit a report regarding the USS Reagan and adverse health impacts on the U. S. Navy's first responders during the 3/11 crisis.

The lead attorney for the class action lawsuit is Charles Bonner, 67-years-old, who has been practicing law since 1979 in civil rights, medical malpractice and environment and personal injury.


Interview:


Play MP3 interview.

Charles Bonner, Attorney, Bonner and Bonner, Lead Attorney in USS Reagan Class Action Lawsuit, Sausalito, California: “Fukushima Reactor Number 1, within 4 hours following the earthquake at 7 PM on March 11, 2011, melted down. Reactor Number 2 and Reactor Number 3 melted down.

Now into this unknown disaster is cruising these young marines - 21, 22, 23-year-olds. They are walking on the deck. They are getting ready to provide humanitarian aid. They did not know that this disaster (Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdowns) is occurring. Most importantly, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) does not inform the U. S. Navy, does not inform the public that they are in a triple meltdown. To the contrary, they publish to the world that there is no meltdown, everything is fine, it's under control, and that was their mantra — that was a lie!

So these sailors then began to load the helicopters with water, blankets, food. Then they went over to the Fukushima power plant area. We have photographic evidence to prove that the ship was within two miles — you can see the shores of Japan where the Fukushima power plant is.

The helicopters came back totally contaminated with radiation. The commanders then moved the USS Reagan ship back to 50 miles (from shore) and they were still picking up radiation. So the ship now is running from the radiation, literally running for their lives. And they move the ship back 100 nautical miles (115 miles) from the Fukushima power plant. And they measure the radiation because the USS Reagan is a nuclear powered ship. They have devices on the ship to measure any kind of radiation releases.

 

USS Reagan Measured 30 Times More Than Normal Radiation At 100 Miles from Japan Shore

The commanders measured radiation at 100 miles away from the Fukushima plant at 30 times more than normal and 30 times more than what Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) represented.

The USS Reagan ship sailed in this radiation for over five hours! We have the transcripts from the U. S. Navy commanders, who testified to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that they measured this radiation that was 30 times more than what had been reported to them. The level of radiation that they measured would cause thyroid problems if a person were exposed to that for a period of ten hours, and these sailors were definitely exposed for more than ten hours.

And the commanders also stated, and I'll read a statement from Commander Troy Mueller, who has been communicating with Japan and TEPCO trying to get information. He stated, ‘We thought based on what we had heard about the TEPCO reactors that we would not detect that level of radiation at 25 miles. So the radiation was much greater than what we had thought. We did not think we would detect anything at 100 miles, and yet, at 100 miles it was 30 times more than normal.’

 

USS Reagan Sailors and Marines
with Radiation Poisoning Symptoms

So, now these young sailors are sick. They have various problems including leukemias, thyroid, ulcers, gall bladder cancers, brain cancers, brain tumors, testicular cancers, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, and a host of thyroid illnesses and other problems. A young lady sailor — she is 32-years-old — she writes in the declaration that we have submitted to the court, ‘I was assigned to the USS Ronald Reagan from August 2010 through October 2011. During Operation Tomodachi, I began having migraine headaches, knee surgery, breast surgery, irregular menstrual cycle, and leg surgery to remove unexplained masses from these areas.’

The radiation not only affects the person, but it changes the DNA. It causes a mutation of the genes and these genes can be passed on to the offspring. The wife of one of the U. S. sailors in her declaration to the court, she writes, ‘I am one of the plaintiffs in this complaint against the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). My husband was exposed to radiation and radiation particles while assigned to the 7th Fleet on the USS Ronald Reagan assisting in Operation Tomodachi beginning in March 2011. As a result of this exposure, our son was born on November 14, 2012, at 8 months and was diagnosed with brain and spinal cancer.’

Lastly, this is a young sailor aged 22, who has been diagnosed with leukemia and he is losing his eyesight. In his declaration to the court, he states, ‘Upon my return from Operation Tomodachi, I began losing my eyesight. I lost all vision in my left eye and most vision in my right eye. I'm unable to read street signs. I'm no longer able to drive. But prior to Operation Tomodachi, I had 20/20 eyesight, wore no glasses and had no corrective eye surgery. Additionally, I know of no family member, who has had leukemia.’

We have over 100 young sailors and marines with illnesses. You do not expect to see these kinds of injuries in a young population. We have a 35-year-old lieutenant, Steve Simmons, who was an active runner the year before Operation Tomodachi. He was running up and down the hills of Hawaii. He's married, he's been in the Navy for sixteen years, they have children, he's been very active. Now, Lt. Simmons is in a wheelchair. Eight months following his return from Operation Tom ad a chi, he was driving his car in the Maryland area and blacked out. He drove his car up on the sidewalk. His legs began to progressively become weaker and weaker to the point that now he's wheelchair bound.

So, we're seeing a cluster of injuries and illnesses that do not see in such a small population — just take the population of the USS Ronald Reagan of 5,500 sailors. You do not expect to see these many problems in one ship.

Another young lady did not know she was pregnant on the ship. She's 23. She had a baby 8 months following Fukushima Operation Tomodachi. And now that baby is born with genetic defects.

We do see, however, these same kinds of illnesses — leukemias, thyroid cancers, the brain tumors — in populations that are exposed to radiation. We saw it at Three Mile Island. We saw it in Chernobyl. We've seen it in places where people have been exposed to radiation because radiation attacks the cells of the body. There are no safe levels of radiation. That's why when you go to your dentist, the dental assistant who takes the x-rays — they put that lead apron around the body and then that assistant person leaves the room and goes behind another door before he or she activates the button to release the radiation to take the x-rays. Radiation is a very, very dangerous substance.

WHAT REALISTICALLY DO RADIATION EXPERTS SAY THE LEVEL OF EXPOSURE HAD TO HAVE BEEN TWO MILES FROM JAPAN IN THE USS REAGAN TO HAVE SET IN MOTION SO MUCH RADIATION SICKNESS WITHIN THREE YEARS?

Well, the Commander of the USS Ronald Reagan measured the radiation at 30 times higher than safe.

THAT WAS 100 MILES AWAY, RIGHT?

And that was at 100 miles away and the ship was as close as two miles away. To be exposed to that level of radiation for even 10 hours will cause thyroid problems. We know the ship admittedly cruised through this plume (radiation from Fukushima) at over 5 hours. The question is: how much radiation were they exposed to? 30 times we know.

We don't know the exact amount because TEPCO was giving the U. S. Navy and the public false information. And then just recently at the end of last year in 2013, TEPCO admitted that their calculations were in error by a factor of 5! So, we don't know the true levels of the exposure of the radiation levels because TEPCO has admitted they made a mistake. It was much higher than they had thought.

At some point when these young sailors were close within 2 miles, and TEPCO was releasing 300 tons of irradiated water into the Pacific Ocean, and these young sailors were using desalinated water. The ship takes the water from the sea and desalinates it and then the young sailors use it to bathe in, to cook in, to brush their teeth in, to drink. We know then they were ingesting this irradiated water, both by taking it inside their bodies as well as bathing in it as well as breathing it in the air. And it's an unknown amount. We know at least it was 30 times higher than normal.

The medical experts are very clear: that exposure to radiation will cause cancer, will cause thyroid illnesses, will cause a mutation of the genes. Even low doses of radiation — any radiation — is dangerous. There is no safe level of exposure to radiation because it's accumulative. It gets in the body and these radioactive particles have a half-life from 50 to 100 years. So once they get into the body they are there and they will continue to create malignant cells. Then those malignant cells will break off and travel through the bloodstream and they will lodge in other parts of the body. Then you have what is called a metastasis where the cancer is conditioned and metastasizes through the body.

That is what these young sailers are now facing — not only for themselves, but for their offspring and the offsprings after that. This class-action lawsuit on behalf of these young sailors and marines — this is a story without an end.”

 

To Reach Attorney Charles Bonner
to Join Class-Action Lawsuit

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR FROM PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO MIGHT HAVE BEEN ON THE USS REAGAN AND HAVEN'T COME FORWARD YET?

Any sailor or marine that was exposed — even if the person has not come down with an illness, but yet has a fear that they will — they have a claim and they should contact us. They should contact me at: charles@bonnerlaw.com.

Or they can also call my cell phone number, which is: 415-601-0268.

And they can also go to our website, which is: FukushimaRadiationVictims.net.

See: Cooper v. Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc. Second Amended Complaint

 

35th Anniversary of Three Mile Island
in United States is March 28, 2014

It was 4 AM East Coast time on March 28, 1979, outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in Dauphin County, that a partial nuclear meltdown occurred in one of the two Three Mile Island nuclear reactors. The melt down released unknown amounts of radioactive gases and iodine and to everyone’s horror, the American Nuclear Regulatory Commission authorized the release of 40,000 gallons of radioactive waste water directly into the Susquehanna River.  The melt down was rated a 5 on a 7-point International Nuclear Event Scale and 140,000 pregnant women and pre-school age children were evacuated from the area. 

One of the men living there at the time was Scott Portzline, who was so disturbed by the human errors he learned about behind the scenes at Three Mile Island that he has devoted his life to learning and educating the public about the dangers of nuclear power reactors.  Recently on March 21st, Scott was honored by Three Mile Island Alert, Inc., “for over 30 years of research and publications in the field of nuclear power security which have served to significantly enhance and protect the quality of life for local, state, national and international reactor communities.”

 

 

Continued in Part 2. Fukushima thyroid cancers spike in 2014.

Also see: Original Earthfiles Fukushima report about reactor meltdowns.


More Information:

For further information about 3/11/11 Fukushima catastrophe, please see reports below from the Earthfiles Archive.

• 09/04/2013 — Update September 4, 2013: Japanese Government Will Spend $470 Million On Underground Ice Wall by March 2015, to Stop Radioactive Leaks. TEPCO's Leaking Storage Tanks Still Out of Control.
• 04/08/2012 — Part 2: Fukushima Cesium-137 Danger Is Greater Than Chernobyl
• 03/30/2012 — Japan Is Burning Radioactive Debris Until 2014
• 09/30/2011 — Japan's 3/11 Radiation Refugees
• 06/06/2011 — Where is Plutonium-MOX Nuclear Reactor Fuel Ejected from Fukushima Unit 3?
• 03/18/2011 — Water Cannons, Fire Trucks and Tons of Helicopter-Lifted Water Have Not Stopped Heating in Fukushima Reactors
• 03/15/2011 — Japan Seismic Agency Says Strong Chance of 7.0 Aftershocks. Pattern of Quakes Headed Toward Tokyo
• 03/14/2011 — Three Japan Damaged Nuclear Reactor Fuel Rods “Melting”?


Websites:

"Report: USS Reagan exposed to radiation levels exceeding what Japanese government said,"
Stars and Stripes,
March 14, 12014: http://www.stripes.com/report-uss-reagan-exposed-to-radiation-levels-exceeding-what-japanese-government-said-1.272833#.UzJOE9y0vRo

"51 Sailors From USS Ronald Reagan Suffering Thyroid Cancer, Leukemia, Brain Tumors After Participating In Fukushima Nuclear Rescue Efforts," December 15, 2013, Disclosure News Online:
http://www.disclosurenewsonline.com/2013/12/15/51-sailors-from-uss-ronald-reagan-suffering-thyroid-cancer-leukemia-brain-tumors-after-participating-in-fukushima-nuclear-rescue-efforts/

"Fukushima Fallout: Ailing U.S. Sailors Sue TEPCO After Exposure to Radiation 30x Higher Than Normal," March 19, 2014, Democracy Now!:
http://www.democracynow.org/2014/3/19/fukushima_fallout_ailing_us_sailors_sue

"Nuclear Engineer Arnie Gundersen: Fukushima Meltdown Could Result in 1 Million Cases of Cancer, March 12, 2014, Democracy Now!: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/3/12/nuclear_engineer_arnie_gundersen
_fukushima_meltdown

"Scientists expect traces of Fukushima radiation on West Coast soon," March 15, 2014, Associated Press:
http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/03/15/scientists-expect-traces-fukushima-radiation-on-west-coast-soon/

 

 

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