December 28, 2012

US sailors sue Japanese utility over radiation

The Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Eight U.S. sailors who served on a humanitarian mission to Japan in the wake of the tsunami-triggered Fukushima nuclear reactor crisis are suing the utility that operates the power plant.

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FILE - In this March 24, 2011 file photo, a young evacuee is screened at a shelter for leaked radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in Fukushima, Fukushima prefecture, Japan. Influential Japanese scientists who help set national radiation exposure limits have for years had trips paid for by the country�s nuclear plant operators to attend overseas meetings of the world�s top academic group on radiation safety. Some of these same scientists have consistently given optimistic assessments about the health risks of radiation, interviews with the scientists and government documents show. Their pivotal role in setting policy after the March 2011 tsunami and ensuing nuclear meltdowns meant the difference between schoolchildren playing outside or indoors and families staying or evacuating. (AP Photo/Wally Santana, File)

AP

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego last week against Tokyo Electric Power Co., which is owned by the Japanese government. Plaintiffs include the infant daughters of two of the sailors.

The 37-page suit charges that the utility lied about the level of radiation in the atmosphere following the March 2011 disaster. The sailors served on the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. They claim they were exposed to harmful levels of radiation that could result in cancer and a shorter lifespan.

An email seeking response from the utility's corporate office was not immediately returned.

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