Streams

Did a Japanese Energy Company Lie About Radiation Levels in Fukushima to the U.S. Navy?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The central operating control room of the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors is opened to the media by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant The central operating control room of the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors is opened to the media by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant (KOJI SASAHARA/AFP/Getty Images/Getty)

Guardian environmental reporter Suzanne Goldenberg discusses a $1 billion lawsuit filed by sailors in the U.S. Navy that accuses the Japanese electric company Tepco of failing to avoid the Fukushima nuclear accident and of lying about radiation levels that have caused health problems for them and their families stationed in Japan. She’s written about the lawsuit in The Guardian, and the story later appeared in Mother Jones as part of their partnership with Climate Desk. 

Guests:

Suzanne Goldenberg

Comments [2]

Roger Witherspoon from New York

There are a couple of problems with Goldenberg's story.
1. The Reagan was just 2 miles off the Fukushima Coast, and stayed in that region for nearly 90 days. Goldenberg spoke of a "plume" as if it were one, discrete, well-defined, radiation source which could be tracked and avoided. That is not the case. Here is NOAA's time tracking of just Cesium-137: http://bit.ly/1gJFkXn

2. The Navy had no idea where radiation was flowing and did not track the winds. There was initial relief among the Navy that the winds were mostly blowing offshore, rather than south where the various bases were located -- forgetting about the presence of the USS Reagan and her group: http://bit.ly/1k2ZwCk

3. The Guardian showed the Navy "estimates" to two physicians who said the process seemed reasonable. It did. But the Reagan only had 4 dosimeters on the whole shop at the beginning, and there was no way to know . A transcript of NRC discussions with the White House March 15, 2011 reveal that there were only 50 dosimeters on the ship at the time and the Navy was just guessing as to what the various exposures were.

4. Goldenberg's assertion that the incidence of cancer or other ailments should have been higher ignores the fact that sailors were compartmentalized, with few having access to the outside or to contaminated equipment. A more relevant question would have been what was the rate among that cohort.

Aug. 27 2014 03:57 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Are there any records of the decisions to cut corners that Ms. Goldenberg mentioned at the beginning that could be used as evidence in this case?

Aug. 26 2014 01:56 PM

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