US Sailors Exposed To Radiation Sue Tokyo Electric
Tokyo Electric Power Co., Ltd. 9501 (also known as TEPCO or TODEN), a Japanese electrical utilities service, is being sued by eight US sailors for lying to them about levels of radiation exposure.
TEPCO has endured a few environmental disaster impacts to business in recent years. In 2007, TEPCO was forced to shut the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant after the Niigata-Chuetsu-Oki Earthquake. Following the March 2011 9.03 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that swept through Tohoku, its power plant at Fukushima Daiichi was the site of a serious and continuing nuclear disaster. It was the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world.
The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 133 feet. The tsunami caused nuclear accidents, most notably the level 7 meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex. The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) was established to enable safety significant information regarding nuclear accidents, ranging from a scale of zero to seven. The highest level of defining a nuclear accident is a level 7, classified as a “Major Accident.”
Bloomberg News reports that an official complaint had been filed with the US Federal Court in San Diego, CA. The sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan nuclear-powered aircraft carrier were involved in disaster relief operations following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan that caused the meltdown. They allege that the Japanese government along with the utility conspired to obfuscate the hazard level of the radiation leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi Plant, telling them it did not pose a threat. Therefore, the litigants approached areas of high concentrations of radiation they would have otherwise avoided for safety.
Stripes.com indicates the plaintiffs in the case are seeking a jury trial, damages of $40 million each for being poisoned by radiation, and establishment of a $100 million fund to pay for any of their future medical expenses. Their lawyer, Paul Garner, notes the sailors allege a host of medical conditions from headaches to rectal bleeding and thyroid problems as a result of the exposure. They will have to undergo more medical tests and expensive treatments.