U.S. sailors sue Japanese utility over Fukushima radiation
A group of eight former and current U.S. Navy personnel have filed a lawsuit against the Japanese government-owned utility in charge of the failed Fukushima nuclear power plant, accusing government officials of “lying through their teeth” about the amount of radiation present during an American relief mission.
“I’m not what I used to be,” the lead plaintiff, Lindsay Cooper, told KNSD-TV. “My body’s not what it used to be while I was in the Navy. I’m having weight issues. My thyroid isn’t what it used to be.”
The suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court, accuses officials of misleading the crew of the USS Ronald Reagan about radiation levels it encountered while carrying out “Operation Tomadatchi,” in which the ship delivered food and water to residents of the city of Sendai, which was hit hard by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to Fukushima’s meltdown, the worst nuclear-related disaster in the country’s history.
The ship, the suit said, was pushed into “an unsafe area.” After discovering the truth, the plaintiffs said they have experienced “considerable mental anguish” due to increased concerns over their risks of developing cancer and the potential impact on their life expectancy. Each plaintiff is seeking more than $10 million in damages.
Another plaintiff, Kim Gieseking, has included her infant daughter in the suit. Giesking said she was unwittingly pregnant while serving on the ship, and has developed degenerative discs on her back since her deployment.
“She seems pretty normal and healthy now,” Gieseking said of the child. “But that doesn’t mean that she’s not gonna have something in the future.”
Watch KNSD’s report, aired Friday, below.