SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan -- When the USS Ronald Reagan arrived off the coast of Japan's main Honshu Island on March 13, 2011, it was greeted by radiation levels that far exceeded what Navy leadership had been told to expect by the Japanese government, according to a new report in the Asia-Pacific Journal.
The report, "Mobilizing Nuclear Bias: The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis
and the Politics of Uncertainty," says that the carrier was exposed to
levels of radiation that were 30 times greater than normal as the
carrier steamed for the coast to aid victims of the March 11, 2011,
earthquake and tsunami.
Navy leadership has said that sailors were not exposed to harmful
levels, even though those aboard were told to scrub the ship and
equipment in protective suits. But the damage to the Tokyo Electric
Power Company's Fukushima plant was far worse than initially feared.
The report, released Feb. 17, and documents obtained by its author
Kyle Cleveland, an associate sociology professor at Temple University
Japan, fuel questions that remain more than three years later over
what the Japanese government and TEPCO knew and what they told the
U.S. as the nuclear disaster was escalating. Debate also continues
over the level at which exposure to radiation becomes a health risk.
Cleveland's report included transcribed telephone conversations
between U.S. based federal government officials, nuclear authorities,
U.S. embassy officials in Tokyo and military staff in the Pacific
Command. In one such conversation, Adm. Kirkland Donald, then director
of naval reactors; Michael Weber from the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission; Donald's patrol director Troy Mueller; and Deputy
Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman discussed issues on the ground.
Poneman asked Donald about the difference between radiation levels
they were finding and what they were being told by the Japanese.
Mueller told Poneman that levels detected 100 nautical miles away were
about 30 times those in a normal air sample out at sea. "We thought
based on what we had heard on the reactors that we wouldn't detect
that level even at 25 miles," he said. "So it's much greater than what
we had thought. We didn't think we would detect anything at 100
The 50 servicemembers and their children in the suit claim to
suffer from exposure-related ailments such as unexplained cancer,
excessive bleeding and thyroid issues; lawyers say more than 100 more
have asked to join the suit. The majority of the plaintiffs are from
the Reagan, which can accommodate 6,275 sailors.
Many of the issues regarding the Reagan's Tomodachi mission,
including its proximity to the plant and whether sailors on board were
given iodine tablets, have been challenged by servicemembers in the
The Japanese utility has until March 31 to respond, according to Paul Garner, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.
Congress has given Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs
Dr. Jonathan Woodson until April 15 to submit a report regarding the
Reagan and adverse health impacts.
DARE WE DREAM THAT OUR SERVICEMEN WILL SEE JUSTICE, THAT THE TRUTH WILL BE ENTIRELY TOLD?
A stunning new report indicates the U.S. Navy knew that sailors from the
nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan took major radiation hits from the
Fukushima atomic power plant after its meltdowns and explosions nearly
three years ago. Many of the sailors are already suffering devastating
health impacts, but are being stonewalled by Tepco and the Navy.
The $4.3 billion carrier is now docked in San Diego. Critics question
whether it belongs there at all. Attempts to decontaminate U.S. ships
irradiated during the Pacific nuclear bombs tests from 1946-1963 proved
Among the 81 plaintiffs in the federal class action are a sailor who was
pregnant during the mission, and her “Baby A.G.,” born that October
with multiple genetic mutations.
Officially, Tepco and the Navy say the dose levels were safe.
But a stunning new report by an American scholar based in Tokyo
confirms that Naval officers communicated about what they knew to be the
serious irradiation of the Reagan. Written by Kyle Cunningham and
published in Japan Focus, “Mobilizing Nuclear Bias” describes the interplay between the U.S. and Japanese governments as Fukushima devolved into disaster.
Cunningham writes that transcribed conversations obtained through the
Freedom of Information Act feature naval officials who acknowledge that
even while 100 miles away from Fukushima, the Reagan’s readings
“compared to just normal background [are] about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out to sea.”
On the nuclear-powered carrier “all of our continuous monitors alarmed at the same level, at this value. And then we took portable air samples on the flight deck and got the same value,” the transcript says.
Serious fallout was also apparently found on helicopters coming back
from relief missions. One unnamed U.S. government expert is quoted in
the Japan Focus article as saying:
At 100 meters away it (the helicopter) was reading 4 sieverts per
hour. That is an astronomical number and it told me, what that number
means to me, a trained person, is there is no water on the reactor cores
and they are just melting down, there is nothing containing the release
of radioactivity. It is an unmitigated, unshielded number.
(Confidential communication, Sept. 17, 2012).
Leaks at the Fukushima site continue to worsen. Despite its denials, Tepco recently admitted it had underestimated certain radiation releases by a factor of 500 percent. A new report indicates that particles of radioactive Cesium 134 from Fukushima have been detected in the ocean off the west coast of North America.
But if this new evidence holds true, it means that the Navy knew
the Ronald Reagan was being plastered with serious radioactive fallout
and it casts the accident in a light even more sinister than previously
The stricken sailors are barred from suing the Navy, and their case
against Tepco will depend on a series of complex international
But one thing is certain: neither they nor the global community have been getting anything near the full truth about Fukushima.
Fifty-one crew members of the USS Ronald Reagan say
they are suffering from a variety of cancers as a direct result of
their involvement in Operation Tomodachi, a U.S. rescue mission in
Fukushima after the nuclear disaster in March 2011. The affected sailors
are suing Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), alleging that the
utility mishandled the crisis and did not adequately warn the crew of
the risk of participating in the earthquake relief efforts.
Crew members, many of whom are in their 20s, have been diagnosed with
conditions including thyroid cancer, testicular cancer and leukemia. The
Department of Defense says
the Navy took "proactive measures" in order to "mitigate the levels of
Fukushima-related contamination on U.S. Navy ships and aircraft” and
that crew members were not exposed to dangerous radiation levels.
The levels were incredibly dangerous and at one point, the radiation in the air measured 300 times higher than what was considered safe, Sebourn
told The Post.
The fallout of those four days spent off the Fukushima coast has been tragic to many of the 5,000 sailors who were there.
At least 70 have been stricken with some form of radiation sickness,
and of those, “at least half . . . are suffering from some form of
cancer,” their lawyer, Paul Garner, told The Post Saturday.
“We’re seeing leukemia, testicular cancer and unremitting
gynecological bleeding requiring transfusions and other intervention,”
“What we say is this: The TEPCO people knew what was happening there,”
Garner told Navy Times. “They certainly knew the severity of what was
happening, because now you have radiological releases into the
environment ... and the tsunami just washed it all in, and washed it all
out, and the Reagan was in the backwash.”
"Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."
DECEPTION, DENIAL, AND ALL THE WHILE OUR MILITARY CAN COUNT ON ONE THING...THEY CANNOT COUNT ON OUR AMERICAN GOVERNMENT TO BE ON THEIR SIDE...THEY CAN'T SUE THE NAVY AND TEPCO IS BEYOND BANKRUPT.
THESE SAILORS ARE SUFFERING AND NO ONE WANTS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.
SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS!