8 Years After, San Diego Federal Judge Throws Out Sailors’ Class Action for Injuries from Fukushima

by on April 3, 2019 · 1 comment

in Energy, Environment, San Diego

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2019

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free world. Here is out March 2019 report.

Eight Years on, Fukushima disaster continues-and so does the coverup

Exactly one week before the 8th anniversary of the March 11, 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Courthouse News Service ran its story, “Judge Tosses Radiation Class Action”.

The story reported,

“Hundreds of American sailors who filed two class actions  claiming they have suffered physical abnormalities, cancer, and death from exposure to radiation while on a humanitarian mission to Fukushima were dealt a blow Monday (3-4) when those cases were dismissed.”

The sailors were on the then-San Diego home ported aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan participating in Operation Tomodachi, “a US Navy force involving 34,00 personnel, and numerous ships and aircraft bringing aid to (Fukushima) disaster victims,” according to a March 7 report by Mint Press News.

One lawsuit was filed in San Diego federal court in 2012, another in 2017, Mint Press also reported.

San Diego US District Court Justice Janis Samartino, who threw out the lawsuit this month, had previously dismissed the 2012 action.
The remaining lawsuit named Tokyo Electric Power Company, owner and operator of the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant as one defendant. The other defendant was General Electric, the US company that built that nuke plant

Situated on Japan’s southeast coast, Fukushima suffered a 9.0 earthquake and major tsunamis on March 11, 20ll. Various reports claim the disaster killed as many as 22,000.

After the quake “11 reactors at four nuclear plants” operating in the region “automatically shut down,” according to the World Nuclear Association. One of those was Fukushima Daichi, where three reactors subsequently shut down, and “23 of 24 radiation monitors” failed, also according to the World Nuclear Association.

The meltdowns released massive amount of radiation into the air, and a cloud carrying it passed directly over the Reagan, where sailors were out on the deck, mostly unprotected, sweeping radioactive debris that was falling into the Pacific Ocean.

What Have They Done To the Rain?

It only took about a week for Fukushima airborne radiation to reach North America. Students at UC Berkeley found a hot spot on the roof of a campus building that had been brought down by rain. Similar elevated levels of radiation was found as far east as Boston. And Fukushima radiation was also documented in Korea and China.

One radioactive chemical produced by the meltdowns was Iodine-131. If it enters our bodies it concentrates in our thyroid glands and can cause thyroid disorders, including cancer.

In California, all infants are tested at birth for one of these disorders, hypothyroidism.  After the Fukushima disaster Joseph Mangano of the Maryland-based Radiation and Public Health Project checked California public health records for rates of the disorder before and after Fukushima.  Mangano found a significant increase in hypothyroidism after the disaster.

Today the Fukushima disaster continues. The reactor meltdowns have not stopped. To slow them down water has to constantly be applied to the hot reactors. But that makes this water radioactive itself, so it must be stored in tanks on site. Room is running out for more tanks, and sometimes they leak, or are intentionally emptied into the Pacific.

Meanwhile, Judge Samartino’s ruling basically said that the sick sailors have to start all over and file their claims in Japan now. Some of them have already died.

My search for information about health problems caused by the Fukushima revealed a denial of such problems, except for Mangano’s study.

With one exception. On March 14 CBS News released a report, “Study links Fukushima disaster to spike in infant heart disease.” The study, done by Kaori Murase of Nagova University in central Japan, was published March 13 by the American Health Association.

Murase’s study found that,

“For a four year period beginning in 2011 the number of heart surgeries (in Japan) for infants under one with coagulated heart disease,” or CHD, the most common birth defect, “jumped 14.2%, compared to four years prior to the (Fukushima) disaster.”

Mirase also said this study’s finding is “consistent with a suspected rise in CHD after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.”

Despite attempts to downplay the impact of the Fukushima disaster, one thing is for sure: The nuclear power industry in the US and beyond has been running out of juice ever since.

In 2013 in the US alone, four nuclear power plants shut down permanently.  In countries like France and Germany, the pace of shutdown has stepped up as well. In the future, the troublesome Diablo Canyon nuke plant on the Left Coast (last one in CA) and Indian Point on the East Coast, are slated for closure before this decade is done.

Meanwhile, across the US, all to many aging nuclear reactors with the same design as the three Fukushima meltdowners are still allowed to operate.

Sources: Courthouse News Service, courthousenews.com; Mint Press News, mintpressnews.com; World Nuclear Association, worldnuclear.org; Radiation and Public Health Project, radiation.org; CBS News, cbsnews.com.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ken Bockman April 10, 2019 at 11:16 am

“Today the Fukushima disaster continues. The reactor meltdowns have not stopped.” No, Melt downs are caused by the radioactive decay of fission products in the reactor core. This heating is intense through the hours following reactor shutdown, but is easily managed after about a week if cooling water in available.

The continuing problem involves water that leaks or falls into the plants and becomes contaminated. Tepco is required to store this water to keep it from leaking into the ocean.


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