December 19, 2013
There is an awful collusion of gross negligence now taking place between TEPCO, the operators of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, which suffered a triple meltdown and the US Department of Defense.
Once again, as with so much that is awry in our world, the exposure to massive liability will keep both parties lying through their teeth until they are successfully sued - and that is exactly what is 51 US Navy crew members of the USS Ronald Reagan are intending to do.
Crew members, many of whom are in their early- and mid-20s, have been diagnosed with conditions including thyroid cancer, testicular cancer and leukemia. The affected sailors are suing Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), alleging that the utility mishandled the crisis and did not adequately warn the crew of the risk of participating in the earthquake relief efforts. The US Department of Defense is denying that crew members were exposed to dangerous radiation levels.
Charles Bonner, attorney for the sailors, who were first responders to the Japanese victims of the earthquake and massive tsunami, which resulted the immediate deaths of approximately 20,000 people and has displaced hundreds of thousands more, explains that the USS Reagan Nimitz-Class Supercarrier desalinates its own water. Crew members were unknowingly drinking, cooking with, and bathing in contaminated water due to the ship's close proximity to the disaster site, according to Bonner.
The number of plaintiffs in the case could grow significantly as 150 additional crew members are currently being medically screened to join. The sailors are seeking $40 million each in punitive damages as well as a $1 billion fund for future medical expenses for members of the USS Reagan.