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Third US Navy sailor dies after being exposed to Fukushima radiation


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(NaturalNews) At least three of the U.S. Navy sailors exposed to radiation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan have now died from mysterious illnesses, according to Charles Bonner, an attorney representing approximately 250 of the sailors in a class action lawsuit against companies involved in running the Fukushima plant.

Bonner said in a July 21 update on the case that more than 250 sailors have come down with illnesses and three have died. "We had one of the sailors who came home and impregnated his wife. They gave birth to a little baby born with brain cancer and cancer down the spine, lived for two years, and just died in March of this year."

More than 500 soldiers sickened

Following a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was redirected to the coast of Japan to assist in relief efforts. By the time the ship arrived, the first of what would eventually be three meltdowns had taken place at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and a massive radioactive plume had erupted into the sky. The two successive meltdowns occurred when the ship was already close to shore.

At this time, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) was still publicly insisting that nothing untoward had happened. Based in part on these assurances, the USS Ronald Reagan did not change its location for two days.

In the four years since then, at least 500 sailors have become ill, many with still-unexplained health problems: muscle wasting, cancer, internal bleeding, thyroid dysfunction, abscesses, and birth defects in their children.

The class action lawsuit seeks damages from TEPCO along with other Fukushima builders and operators Toshiba, Hitachi, Ebasco and General Electric. Among its allegations are that TEPCO deliberately concealed the fact that the plant was in full meltdown, thereby prolonging the sailors' exposure to dangerous radiation.

Government documents suggest cover-up

When the first reports of sailors falling ill began to surface, Congress asked the Pentagon for more information about the case. In Congressional testimony, the Pentagon insisted that the sailors had not been exposed to enough radiation or radioactive water to cause any health problems.

"How do you take a ship and place it into a nuclear plume for five plus hours, how do you suck up nuclear contaminated waste into the water filtration system and think for one minute that there's no health risk to anybody on board?" said Lt. Steve Simmons, whose leg muscles had atrophied so severely within months of the Fukushima disaster that he lost the use of them.

Sociologist Kyle Cleveland of the Japan campus of Temple University has investigated the government's claims about the case through Freedom of Information Act requests.

"I was very surprised to see that there is a big difference within the United States government as they were trying to determine just how bad this was," Cleveland said.

The documents reveal that at a time when the Japanese government was recommending only a 30-kilometer exclusion zone around the plant, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission was recommending an exclusion zone of 50 miles (80 kilometers). In contrast, the U.S. Navy Pacific Command was recommending an exclusion zone of 200 miles, which is more than 300 kilometers.

The Navy's recommendations were based on the fact that the USS Ronald Reagan had detected the radioactive plume from Fukushima at a distance of 132 miles from the plant with readings at 30 times higher than the background radiation level. These readings indicated that a "protective action guideline" level of radiation exposure would be exceeded within ten hours.

At the same time, the George Washington aircraft carrier was stationed at a naval base 163 miles from Fukushima. It, too, detected dangerous levels of radiation.

Sources for this article include:

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