Around 1,400 people have filed a lawsuit jointly against the three manufacturers of the reactors in the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The lawsuit is seeking compensation of only 100 yen (US$1) each in damages caused by the 2011 meltdown. The lawsuit is aimed at raising awareness to the problem of the nuclear disaster and its effects.
The lawsuit, which was filed at the Tokyo District Court, is of landmark proportions as it sets a precedent against the manufacturers’ immunity on having any liability in the event of nuclear accidents. Current regulations dictated that only the plant’s operator is liable for any damages caused. Combined with 1,000 Japanese nationals, around 400 people from countries and all over the world comprised the plaintiffs that claim the three manufacturers – Toshiba, GE and Hitachi, failed to complete necessary adjustments to the safety of the reactors, which has been in use since 1971. Previous reports say that GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy claims that the reactor meltdown was not caused by a fault in the reactor design, but due to the tsunami that resulted in a loss of power and reactor cooling.
While there were no deaths related to the radiation leakage reported in the immediate aftermath of the meltdown, many people were forced to evacuate the area surrounding the nuclear plant. Around 160,000 had to live in temporary housing units, causing many to fall ill because of the cramped conditions and effects caused by prolonged evacuation. Operator TEPCO, meanwhile, continues to scramble to clean up the leaks of radioactive water to the Pacific Ocean. A former TEPCO employee, Yoshihatsu Uechi, recently shared horror stories of using duct tape to seal leaking pipes due to cost-cutting measures.
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