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Injustice at sea: the sailors of the USS Ronald Reagan and the Fukushima plume

American sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan were exposed to radiation from Fukushima. Many are sick. Some have died. Why can’t they get justice? Our latest article, on Counterpunch and on Beyond Nuclear International, looks at the two class action lawsuits brought by sailors aboard the Reagan during the Fukushima nuclear crisis and asks why it is taking so long for them to get justice. Nine of the plaintiffs have already died but the case has had to fight through procedural hurdles and is yet to be heard on its merits.

The USS Ronald Reagan arrived off the Japan coast before dawn on March 12, 2011 with a crew of 4,500. It had been on its way to South Korea but returned to join Operation Tomodachi.

But what actually happened to the Reagan after that is still clouded in confusion, or possibly cover-up. After it got doused in the radioactive plume, then drew in radioactively contaminated water through its desalination system — which the crew used for drinking, cooking and bathing — it turned into a pariah ship, just two and a half months into its aid mission.

Floating at sea, the USS Reagan was turned away by Japan, South Korea and Guam. For two and a half months it was the radioactive MS St. Louis, not welcome in any port until Thailand finally took the ship into harbor.

Read the article.