Attorney Paul Garner said he is awaiting disclosure from the Pentagon, the Navy and Japan about what their instruments showed. The Japanese Fukushima Daiichi power plant, on the coast 150 miles northeast of Tokyo, is owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco.
The U.S. Defense Department has created a registry for the 70,000 Pentagon-affiliated people who were in Japan or off the coast during the first three months of the disaster. A website for this registry said that it would provide radiation exposure estimates for all 70,000 by the end of 2012.
However, figures for U.S. Navy ships serving off the coast of Japan — including the Reagan, and the San Diego-based warships Preble and Chancellorsville, plus the carrier George Washington and amphibious ship Essex, among several other American military vessels — are not yet available on the website.
The Navy’s statement said that “most of this radioactivity did not deposit on the ship as the ship sailed through the plume and the very low levels of residual radioactivity that did deposit on the ship were mitigated and controlled.”
Cooper said she participated in one flight deck wash down that occurred after the Reagan’s radiation alarms went off a few days into Operation Tomodachi. A Navy photo shows sailors, some with scarves worn across their faces and mouths, pushing brooms to scrub the deck with soap and water.
Garner said that the Navy used seawater for that cleanup.
Meanwhile, the tsunami’s waves breached the power plant, then washed back into the sea. A paper published by Stanford University in July estimated that most of the Fukushima radioactivity went into the Pacific and only 19 percent of the released material was deposited over land.
Two days after the disaster, the Navy said it had repositioned the Reagan after detecting low levels of contamination in the air and on 17 aircrew members who flew relief missions. Previously, the carrier had been downwind from the nuclear site.
Cooper left the Navy in August 2011 after four years of service. She said she wants to find out what she was exposed to and what it means for her long-term health. A single mom to a daughter, she now attends college toward a criminal justice degree.
“There’s so much that didn’t make sense from that period out in Japan. I want to know the truth and why it happened,” she said last week from her Spring Valley home.
“I saw the symptoms for radiation overexposure — almost identical to what I had. And everybody else had the same symptoms. That was a huge red flag.”
“About a year ago we all talked to each other. I asked if any of them were having medical issues. Some said yes. Some said no,” Cooper said. “I offered (Garner’s) number to 100 people I’d worked with, and only eight were OK with (going forward). The rest were intimidated. The boat told us it was OK, and so it was OK (to them).”
Read more at Did Japan’s Radiation Sicken US Sailors?