13 February 2014, 14:33

Fukushima fallout: sick US sailors file new $1bln lawsuit against Tepco

A US Navy sailor washes the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan off the Japanse coast

A US Navy sailor washes the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan off the Japanse coast

A US Navy sailor washes the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan off the Japanse coast

A total of 79 American sailors of the USS Ronald Reagan, which was stationed off Japanese coast at the time of the Fukushima disaster and took an active part in the relief operation, have filed a new class action suit demanding $1 billion in damages for the horrible conditions they developed after being dosed with radiation that swept over the ship following the nuclear fallout.

American veterans of 2011's earthquake and tsunami relief operation called Tomadachi ("Friendship") have implicated Tokyo Electric Power in covering-up of their exposure to radiation after the Fukushima operator confessed it had underestimated certain radiation readings by a factor of five.

The lawsuit cited a host of plaintiffs, most of them in their twenties, who had allegedly suffered a wide range of ailments, including leukemia, blindness and numerous genetic defects in their newborn children. It has also been left open for "up to 70,000 US citizens potentially affected by the radiation” that reached the Atlantic coast. 

The entire crew of the USS Ronald Reagan was washed over with deadly radiation clouds from three meltdowns and four explosions at the Fukushima site. They later told the media that in a middle of a snowstorm they felt a wave of warm air with ‘metallic taste” to it envelop them. Afterwards, they also drank and bathed in heavily contaminated sea water.

Upon returning home, many sailors said they health had begun to deteriorate rapidly. One 22-year-old reported he soon “lost all vision in my left eye and most vision in my right eye. I am unable to read street signs and am no longer able to drive.”

The suit also cited the case of plaintiff "Baby A.G" who was born to a USS Reagan crew member seven months after the fallout with multiple birth defects.

As to the ship itself, its fate isn’t clear yet since the $4.3 billion carrier is at the core of the US military presence in the Pacific. Conversely, experts says it’s become too radioactive to operate or to scrap and needs to be sunk.

American vets have demanded at least $1 billion to "advance and pay all costs and expenses for each of the Plaintiffs for medical examination, medical monitoring and treatment by physicians." The lawsuit initially came on Reagan's 103rd birthday,

Voice of Russia, Huffington Post

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