The Helen Caldicott Foundation | ‘Uncertain Radiological Threat’: US Navy Sailors Search for Justice after Fukushima Mission

‘Uncertain Radiological Threat’: US Navy Sailors Search for Justice after Fukushima Mission

‘Uncertain Radiological Threat’: US Navy Sailors Search for Justice after Fukushima Mission

Posted by Admin in Articles, Fukushima, Nuclear Power

The victims of the atomic age have faced a stone wall of silence and denial. The sailors of the USS Ronald Reagan are no different. But after a long battle, and many sick sailors, they will finally have their day in court. Along with other worker compensation cases that have been successfully brought recently, the writing is on the wall for the nuclear industry, civilian and military. Cancer and radiation related illness’s long lead-in time is no longer on the side of the deniers. People are getting sick, in clear and large numbers. And the legal system is taking notice.

Alexander Osang l Der Spiegal 5 February 2015

On March 11, 2011, the American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan received orders to change course and head for the east coast of Japan, which had just been devastated by a tsunami. The Ronald Reagan had been on its way to South Korea when the order reached it and Captain Thom Burke, who was in charge of the ship along with its crew of 4,500 men and women, duly redirected his vessel. The Americans reached the Japanese coastline on March 12, just north of Sendai and remained in the region for several weeks. The mission was named Tomodachi.

The word tomodachi means “friends.” In hindsight, the choice seems like a delicate one.

Three-and-a-half years later, Master Chief Petty Officer Leticia Morales is sitting in a café in a rundown department store north of Seattle and trying to remember the name of the doctor who removed her thyroid gland 10 months ago. Her partner Tiffany is sitting next to her fishing pills out of a large box and pushing them over to Morales.

“It was something like Erikson,” Morales says. “Or maybe his first name was Eric, or Rick. Oh, I don’t know. Too many doctors.” In the last year-and-a-half, she has seen oncologists, radiologists, cardiologists, blood specialists, kidney specialists, gastrointestinal specialists, lymph node experts and metabolic specialists. “I’m now spending half the month in doctors’ offices,” she says. “This year, I’ve had more than 20 MRTs. I’ve simply lost track.”

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