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USS Ronald Reagan sailors report cancers after Fukushima rescue mission, suing Tokyo Electric Power Company

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Fifty-one crew members of the USS Ronald Reagan say they are suffering from a variety of cancers as a direct result of their involvement in Operation Tomodachi, a U.S. rescue mission in Fukushima after the nuclear disaster in March 2011. 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.

Crew members, many of whom are in their 20s, have been diagnosed with conditions including thyroid cancer, testicular cancer and leukemia. The Department of Defense says the Navy took "proactive measures" in order to "mitigate the levels of Fukushima-related contamination on U.S. Navy ships and aircraft” and that crew members were not exposed to dangerous radiation levels.

Charles Bonner, attorney for the sailors, says the radiation the USS Ronald Reagan crew was exposed to extended beyond the tasks of Operation Tomodachi. Deployed ships desalinate their own water, so 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 USS Reagan was ultimately informed of the contamination after a month of living approximately 10 miles offshore from the affected region.

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One member of the crew said that, despite his concerns about future health risks, he still looks back on his involvement in Operation Tomodachi with pride:

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Source: Al-Jazeera America

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Sometimes folks just don't want to put on their safety glasses you know? I rarely do it at home even though my eyes could suffer a serious injury. Put all the safe guards you want and people will always find a way to circumvent them to save effort/time usually due to complacency or laziness.

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Al-Jazeera ? Really? OK !


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Sometimes folks just don't want to put on their safety glasses you know? I rarely do it at home even though my eyes could suffer a serious injury. Put all the safe guards you want and people will always find a way to circumvent them to save effort/time usually due to complacency or laziness.

This says the desalination plant was the source of the contamination. If so that would surely mean the US navy has a case to answer.

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This says the desalination plant was the source of the contamination. If so that would surely mean the US navy has a case to answer.

True. And the aircraft carrier is supposed to monitor radiation exposure among the crew. The desalination plant is supposed to monitor the water supply for contamination, including radioactive substances. It sounds like some ambulance chasing lawyer thinks he has an easy case, although I wonder what venue would take the case, being as this is a Japanese firm being sued on behalf of US Servicemen operating in or near the territorial waters of Japan under a status of forces agreement or international treaty.

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