USA supports the nuclear industry – not the sailors made ill by Fukushima radiation

Is America Abandoning its Bravest Heroes Yet Again?, WhoWhatWhy  By  on Apr 21, 2014Reason for Navy Cover-up?“………..Because U.S. military personnel are prevented from suing the government, their only recourse is to go after TEPCO. But given the interests involved, the outcome for the Operation Tomodachi victims remains very much in doubt. Robert Alvarez, the nuclear investigator and former DOE deputy assistant secretary, points out that about a quarter of a million U.S. soldiers were subjected to open air nuclear weapons testing in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

“If you use the treatment of atomic veterans who were involved in atmospheric testing as a benchmark, the government did everything it could to downplay the hazards, because from the military perspective, the mission is all important,” he says.

“Right now, the United States government and Japan are closing ranks because of their nuclear-related relationships,” he says. Although Japan’s 54 power-generating nuclear reactors are currently offline, the country still has the third largest number of nuclear reactors in the world.

But more important, Alvarez says, is the “extraordinary co-dependence” with Japan on nuclear-energy-related matters. “Because the U.S. has lost much of its capability in designing and building reactors, we have to depend on the Japanese and the French if we’re going to build any reactors or fabricate fuel or do anything to service the existing reactor fleet,” he explained. “We’re dependent on companies that are now owned by Japan and France.”

The case of the ill Operation Tomodachi veterans shines a spotlight on the intersection of competing interests between victims of radiation exposure, the nuclear power industry, and the U.S. government and its unwavering commitment to nuclear technology for both military and civilian use. So far, by denying the harm from the radiation U.S. military personnel were exposed to as they helped Japan clean up after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011—a position that supports the Japanese government and nuclear industry—the U.S. government is doing what it has almost always done: protect nuclear interests rather than its victims.

As the number of ill Operation Tomodachi veterans climbs, it remains to be seen whether their sacrifice will be acknowledged or if they, like so many others, will be left to fend for themselves.  http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/04/21/america-abandoning-bravest-heroes-yet/#sthash.YiyEeRT1.dpuf

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