Fukushima operator faces $5B suit over 2011 disaster

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
TOKYO
Published 25.08.2017 23:19
Updated 25.08.2017 23:28

Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings said it faces another U.S. lawsuit over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, with the latest one demanding at least $5 billion in compensation. A total of 157 U.S. residents who were supporting Fukushima victims at the time filed the class action suit in a California district court earlier this month against the utility known as Tepco and a U.S. company.

A massive tsunami triggered by a 9-magnitude earthquake smashed into Tepco's Fukushima Daiichi power plant on Japan's northeast coast on March 11, 2011. The giant waves overwhelmed reactor cooling systems and sent three into meltdown, spewing radiation over a wide area in the world's most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986. The plaintiffs, who joined aid efforts along with U.S. troops shortly after the disaster, claim they were exposed to radiation because of the improper design, construction and maintenance of the plant. They are seeking $5 billion to cover the cost of medical tests and treatment needed to recover from the disaster, Tepco said in a statement.

They are also demanding compensation for physical, mental and economic damage but no further details such as a sum of money or the identities of the claimants were available. It was the second multi-plaintiff suit filed against the utility in a U.S. court following one by more than 200 individuals in 2013. In Japan, more than 10,000 people who fled their homes over radiation fears have filed various group lawsuits against the government and the firm.

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