Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lawsuit by US Soldiers Against Tepco and International Liability Limits Under the Convetion on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage


Tepco has worked in concert with the Japanese government to reduce international liabilities from the disaster. On Feb 3 2012, The Asahi Shimbun reported that “Japan wants in on nuclear accident compensation pact”.[i] Japan hopes to join the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC) that proposes a uniform and limiting set of compensation standards for victims of nuclear disasters in impacted countries not the origin of the disaster:

Prompted by the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Japan has decided to join an international convention that will set a global uniform standard for compensating victims of such nuclear disasters, sources said.... The convention would grant "exclusive jurisdiction" to Japan in the event an accident in the nation affected other countries. 

Following the Fukushima accident, it has been seen as a major potential burden that Japan could face court proceedings overseas if victims abroad sued concerned parties for compensation.....Under the CSC, the member states jointly shoulder the cost of compensation for nuclear damage when the liability exceeds 300 million International Monetary Fund special drawing rights ($465 million, or 35 billion yen).

The convention also limits the liability of a disaster to the nuclear operator, excluding the manufacturer: "The convention would also ensure "exclusive liability of the operator," which means that all liability should be borne by the nuclear operator, not the manufacturers..." The Asahi article cites Daniel Poneman, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy, who in December stated that "the events at Fukushima ... emphasized the need for a global nuclear liability regime." The convention essentially limits only the liability, but not the incalculable risks, from nuclear accidents. 

In December 2012, eight US soldiers aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, which responded to the disaster in Japan in Operation Tomadachi, sued Tepco for deliberately misrepresenting the radiation risks posed by the disaster.[ii] The suit also includes the infant daughter of one of the soldiers as a plaintiff. Their complaint asserts:

[Excerpted] 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. . . Defendants had actual and/or constructive knowledge of the properties of radiation that would ensure that, once released into the environment, radiation would spread further and in concentrations that would cause injury to the plaintiffs.

Furthermore, the complaint asserts that plaintiffs’ exposure levels exceeded “the levels of exposure to which those living the same distance from Chernobyl experienced who subsequently developed cancer." Thus, the complaint charges that the likelihood of exposure to caner has een enhanced and the plaintiffs “face additional and irreparable harm to their life expectancy, which has been shortened and cannot be restored to its prior condition." It is unclear whether the plaintiffs' case will be limited by the CSC treaty.

A search has revealed no information about the constraints on the lawsuit.


[i] Toru Nakagawa. Japan wants in on nuclear accident compensation pact. The Asahi Shimbun (2012 February 3) http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201202030021

[ii] Elizabeth Warmerdam. U.S. Sailors Sue Japan Over Fukushima. Courthouse News Service (2012, December 26), http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/12/26/53414.htm

3 comments:

  1. Teleconference video of TEPCO shows that
    TEPCO fabricated lie to announce what kind of explosion occurred by reactor 3.

    http://enenews.com/asahi-video-shows-tepcos-hastiness-when-reporting-unit-3-as-a-hydrogen-explosion-cause-has-yet-to-be-determined

    Teleconference Video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=WyZDHnstm-k#t=15s
    (Video source: http://tepco.webcdn.stream.ne.jp/www11/tepco/download/tv125.zip )

    Reference info:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPbmPyMxu0Y

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  2. Funny, I literally got shouted down on several message boards (including Enenews by Arnie Gundersen himself) when I pointed out that the USS Ronald Reagan had turned and run from the cloud after the explosion of #3 reactor.

    That's because they've been trying to hide what happened to #3 for two years now. The MOX fueled reactor core exploded and released a cloud of Plutonium dust that irreparably damaged life on the earth.

    Arnie tried to claim for 18 months it was hydrogen from the SPF3 - until the facts overwhelmed his lies, and now he's quietly admitting the truth.

    The sailors on Reagan were in the wrong place at the exact right time. Of course the nuke engineers onboard knew precisely what they had encountered and when - and thereafter the US military made immediate plans to remove all personnel from Japan.

    They also had a near panic onboard the ship, as both the air system and the drinking water got contaminated with radiation. They turned north - did a week of scrubbing on the ship, and sent some folks on land to do token tsunami relief then hightailed it out of Japan. They returned to San Diego and the ship was immediately sent to Bremerton for refit - it's taken a year and they are scheduled to deploy back to San Diego February 1, 2013.

    The Reagan incident all occured within about 2 hours after the explosion of #3. I've never seen a carrier battle group turn and run from danger before.

    Of course the official navy account says they turned and ran on Sunday March 13, instead of the morning of the 14th when the explosion occurred. That's because they retroactively timestamped everything in US time - not Japan time.

    I assure you it happened just after the explosion of #3. This was the single indicator to me that this was a disaster of epic proportions, as I monitored it happening in real time.

    I also said it would take about 18-24 months for the serious health problems to manifest - I suspect you will find many cases of cancer showing up in the Reagan crew. Unfortunately I suspect many of them will not live to see any outcome of this lawsuit, and it will be very quietly settled.

    James


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    ReplyDelete