• 10 hours Oil Prices Rise After API Reports Major Crude Draw
  • 10 hours Citgo President And 5 VPs Arrested On Embezzlement Charges
  • 11 hours Gazprom Speaks Out Against OPEC Production Cut Extension
  • 11 hours Statoil Looks To Lighter Oil To Boost Profitability
  • 13 hours Oil Billionaire Becomes Wind Energy’s Top Influencer
  • 14 hours Transneft Warns Urals Oil Quality Reaching Critical Levels
  • 15 hours Whitefish Energy Suspends Work In Puerto Rico
  • 16 hours U.S. Authorities Arrest Two On Major Energy Corruption Scheme
  • 1 day Thanksgiving Gas Prices At 3-Year High
  • 1 day Iraq’s Giant Majnoon Oilfield Attracts Attention Of Supermajors
  • 1 day South Iraq Oil Exports Close To Record High To Offset Kirkuk Drop
  • 2 days Iraqi Forces Find Mass Graves In Oil Wells Near Kirkuk
  • 2 days Chevron Joint Venture Signs $1.7B Oil, Gas Deal In Nigeria
  • 2 days Iraq Steps In To Offset Falling Venezuela Oil Production
  • 2 days ConocoPhillips Sets Price Ceiling For New Projects
  • 4 days Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years
  • 4 days Higher Oil Prices Reduce North American Oil Bankruptcies
  • 4 days Statoil To Boost Exploration Drilling Offshore Norway In 2018
  • 4 days $1.6 Billion Canadian-US Hydropower Project Approved
  • 5 days Venezuela Officially In Default
  • 5 days Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 5 days Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
  • 5 days Saudi Oil Minister: Markets Will Not Rebalance By March
  • 5 days Obscure Dutch Firm Wins Venezuelan Oil Block As Debt Tensions Mount
  • 5 days Rosneft Announces Completion Of World’s Longest Well
  • 5 days Ecuador Won’t Ask Exemption From OPEC Oil Production Cuts
  • 6 days Norway’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Proposes To Ditch Oil Stocks
  • 6 days Ecuador Seeks To Clear Schlumberger Debt By End-November
  • 6 days Santos Admits It Rejected $7.2B Takeover Bid
  • 6 days U.S. Senate Panel Votes To Open Alaskan Refuge To Drilling
  • 6 days Africa’s Richest Woman Fired From Sonangol
  • 6 days Oil And Gas M&A Deal Appetite Highest Since 2013
  • 6 days Russian Hackers Target British Energy Industry
  • 7 days Venezuela Signs $3.15B Debt Restructuring Deal With Russia
  • 7 days DOJ: Protestors Interfering With Pipeline Construction Will Be Prosecuted
  • 7 days Lower Oil Prices Benefit European Refiners
  • 7 days World’s Biggest Private Equity Firm Raises $1 Billion To Invest In Oil
  • 7 days Oil Prices Tank After API Reports Strong Build In Crude Inventories
  • 7 days Iraq Oil Revenue Not Enough For Sustainable Development
  • 8 days Sudan In Talks With Foreign Oil Firms To Boost Crude Production
Alt Text

The Boy Genius Tackling Energy’s Toughest Problem

This 23-year old nuclear physicist…

Alt Text

New Tech Is Transforming Japan’s Energy Sector

The tech that built bitcoin…

Alt Text

Is Infinite Clean Energy Near?

The dream of creating a…

John Daly

John Daly

Dr. John C.K. Daly is the chief analyst for Oilprice.com, Dr. Daly received his Ph.D. in 1986 from the School of Slavonic and East European…

More Info

US Sailors Sue for Illnesses they Believe Caused by Fukushima

US Sailors Sue for Illnesses they Believe Caused by Fukushima

On 12 March 2011 the six-reactor Fukushima Daiichi complex, owned by Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc., approximately 150 miles north of Tokyo, was effectively destroyed by a tsunami that followed an offshore 9.0 Richter scale earthquake. The same day, U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos declared a disaster due to the effects of the earthquake and tsunami. In response, the USAID activated a Response Management Team in Washington, D.C., and deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team to Japan to coordinate U.S. government response efforts in Japan. On 13 March, the two urban search and rescue teams arrived in Japan as part of the DART.

Following a request for help from the Japanese government, the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered 101,400-ton carrier and its strike group, en route to South Korea, where it was scheduled to participate in a joint South Korean-U.S. military exercise the following week and operating at sea about 100 miles northeast of the NPP, changed course and arrived off the stricken facility the next day to participate in relief operations. In all, 24 U.S. Navy ships, 189 aircraft and 24,000 service personnel were deployed to help Japan in Operation Tomodachi.

By the end of the day the USS Ronald Reagan had conducted six maritime search and rescue missions and 20 helicopter missions to deliver supplies to ships at sea and three towns near Sendai.

But then, after four days the U.S. 7th Fleet temporarily repositioned its ships and aircraft away from downwind from the Fukushima Daiichi NPP after detecting low level contamination in the air and on its aircraft operating in the area. A Navy press release at the time said, “For perspective, the maximum potential radiation dose received by any ship’s force personnel aboard the ship when it passed through the area was less than the radiation exposure received from about one month of exposure to natural background radiation from sources such as rocks, soil, and the sun.”

Related article: This Unpronounceable Name Could Unlock a Major Uranium Prize

But on 15 March, the U.S. Navy said very low levels of airborne radiation were detected at greater Tokyo-area U.S. military bases in Yokosuka and Atsugi, prompting commanders to direct base residents to remain indoors as a precaution. That morning the USS George Washington (CVN-763 Nimitz-class aircraft carrier stationed at Yokosuka Naval Base detected elevated radiation levels, according to a U.S. Navy 7th Fleet announcement, which stated that the elevated radiation levels emanated from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi NPP.

Fast forward two years.

In June 2013 a mass tort lawsuit filed in San Diego by plaintiff lawyer Paul Garner and co-counsel Charles Bonner, contends that the 71 plaintiff sailors’ health was injured by radiation emitted by the Fukushima Daiichi NPP. Garner said, "They're suffering from the whole Chernobyl panoply," adding that many plaintiffs, most in their 20s, have been diagnosed with "cancers, leukaemias, bleeding from vagina and rectum, abnormal growths, loss of eyesight, migraine headaches, weight gain/loss, immuno-deficiencies, loss of strength, mobility" and other ailments. An amended suit with around 100 USS Ronald Reagan sailor plaintiffs is due to be filed again in February. Garner contends that TEPCO knew that 400 tons of radioactivity was leaking into the sea each day and cites the USS Ronald Reagan's deck logs to assert that the ship spent five hours sailing through a plume of radioactive material, after steam was vented from the NPP to preclude a lethal chain reaction.

Not surprisingly, TEPCO denies liability.

Senior Chief Michael Sebourn, a radiation-decontamination officer on board the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, assigned to test the aircraft carrier following its deployment, said that radiation levels measured 300 times higher than what was considered safe at one point.

Related article: U.S. Desire for Short Term Profit could Lead to Nuclear Power Implosion

Sebourn also tested aircraft at Misawa Air Base, 200 miles from Fukushima. Sebourn subsequently suffered health issues as well, suffering nose bleeds, headaches and nausea in the immediate aftermath, symptoms consistent with radiation poisoning and along atrophy in his right arm and said, “I have issues that can’t be explained. It just seems like I am deteriorating.” Ironically, the USS Ronald Reagan has a multimillion-dollar radiation-detection system, but the crew couldn’t get it activated quickly enough.

Co-counsel Charles Bonner observed of TEPCO, “their second largest office outside of Tokyo is in Washington, D.C. This foreign corporation caused harm to American rescuers, and they did it in ways that give rise to jurisdiction here in this country.”

Two things are certain – the lawsuit has the potential to create great discomfort for both Tokyo and Washington, and that the USS Ronald Reagan’s ill sailors little dreamed that when they joined the U.S. Navy in order to put themselves “in harm’s way” for their country, that it would include battling life-threatening illnesses likely caused by an industrial accident in an allied county. It will be interesting next month to see if the lawsuit proceeds or is dismissed on a technicality.

We’ll leave the final word to Stars and Stripes, the newspaper authorized by Congress and the U.S. Department of Defense to produce independent daily military news and information distributed at U.S. foreign military installations, “The U.S. military has refused requests from Stars and Stripes for detailed information about the types of toxins and the levels that personnel were exposed to during Operation Tomodachi.”

By. John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Socrates on January 23 2014 said:
    It will prove interesting as these claims will eventually find their way into the VA system of compensation for service connected injuries. Time will tell.
  • Gretchen Moore on January 23 2014 said:
    John, my father was in the atomic bomb tests in the Marshall islands in 1946. Operation crossroads. 'Able' and Baker' tests, aboard the U.S.S. Ajax. As those sailors were sworn to a 50 year oath of secrecy by our government, I find it ironic that we now have sailors seeking compensation for ailments that refused to be acknowledged as compensable by our government for its' own soldiers then. However; we expect another nation to recognize the same numerous illnesses as worthy of remuneration. Dad lost his all his teeth at 29, had stomach bleeding, horrendous headaches. Only after his passing and discussions with his physicians about his participation in the tests did it make sense to them the source of his ailments. They suffered for silence fifty years and were never compensated, never recognized. I pray these brave sailors don't suffer the same fate.
  • SA Kiteman on January 23 2014 said:
    The case was dismissed in November. Also, the claims are bogus.

    Check out the January 3rd section of this blog.
  • Harvey on January 25 2014 said:
    This is a bogus claim. I'm surprised anyone at oilprice.com would take the trouble to report on it with a straight face.

    Energy is too important to be hijacked by wild-eyed crazies.

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News