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US sailors sue over radiation illnesses they blame on Fukushima


Sailors scrub the flight deck of the of USS Ronald Reagan to decontaminate it while the ship operated off the coast of Japan in March 2011.

The catastrophic meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power in March 2011 led to an international response. Among the first responders on the scene was the crew of the American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
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It was one of 25 US naval vessels that arrived bringing clean water and other humanitarian aid. But now at least 71 of the Reagan’s sailors and Marines are suffering from what they say are the effects of radiation poisoning.

They are suing the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which they say hid the truth about just how deadly the radioactive plumes were in the air and water. One of those sailors is Lt. j.g. Steve Simmons, who says he learned of the danger when it was already too late.

“They had actually come across the intercom system of the ship letting everybody know that we had a little problem — that we had actually sucked up contaminants into the water system,” Simmons recalls. “I had already had a couple glasses of water, and I had filled up my water bottle a couple of times, and that water goes everywhere throughout that ship. It’s what they use for cooking, it’s what they have at every water fountain throughout the ship.”

Simmons even made a wisecrack about it at the time, saying if he ingested any nuclear contamination it was too late already, what’s done was done.
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