U.S. soldiers sue Tokyo Electric Power for mispresenting radiation level

2012-12-28 18:01:06 GMT2012-12-29 02:01:06(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Eight crew members of the U.S. S. Ronald Reagan sued the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) for misrepresenting radiation levels to lull the U.S. Navy "into a false sense of security" after March 2011 earthquake and tsunami set off the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Lead plaintiff Lindsay R. Cooper claims TEPCO intentionally concealed the dangerous levels of radiation in the environment from U.S. Navy rescue crews working off the coast of Japan, according to local media reports Friday.

In the complaint sent to the Federal Court in San Diego, home of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the plaintsiffs said " TEPCO pursued a policy to cause rescuers, including the plaintiffs, to rush into an unsafe area which was too close to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant that had been damaged."

There were 5,500 sailors aboard the Reagan at that time, but only six of the eight plaintiffs worked on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier and two worked in air contamination or the "air department." One of the plaintiffs sued also on behalf of her infant daughter.

Local media Courthouse News Service quoted the complaint that " Defendant TEPCO and the government of Japan, conspired and acted in concert, among other things, to create an illusory impression that the extent of the radiation that had leaked from the site of the FNPP was at levels that would not pose a threat to the plaintiffs, in order to promote its interests and those of the government of Japan, knowing that the information it disseminated was defective, incomplete and untrue, while omitting to disclose the extraordinary risks posed to the plaintiffs who were carrying out their assigned duties aboard the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan."

The plaintiffs seek 10 million U.S. dollars in compensatory damages and 30 million dollars in punitive damages for fraud, negligence, strict liability, failure to warn, public and private nuisance, and defective design. They also want TEPCO ordered to establish a fund of 100 million dollars to pay for their medical expenses, as they were facing irreparable harm to their life expectancy and risk of cancer.

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