1Navy Says 17 Americans Were Treated for Contamination
By THOM SHANKER
Published: March 14, 2011
¶ WASHINGTON — American Navy officials in Japan said early Monday that
17 military personnel who had been aboard three helicopters assisting in
the earthquake relief effort had been exposed to low levels of contamination.
Radioactive Releases in Japan Could Last Months, Experts Say (March 14
Several Plant Workers Are Ill, but Radiation Risk in Japan Is Seen as
Low for Now (March 14, 2011)
Military Crew Said to Be Exposed to Radiation, but Officials Call Risk
in U.S. Slight (March 14, 2011)
Second Explosion at Reactor as Technicians Try to Contain Damage (
March 14, 2011)
¶ Cmdr. Jeff A. Davis, a spokesman for the American Seventh Fleet in
Japan, said the Navy personnel — who apparently had flown through a
radioactive plume from a damaged nuclear power plant — had been ordered to
dispose of their uniforms and to undergo a decontamination scrub that had
successfully removed radioactive particles.
¶ “They received very, very low levels of contamination,” Commander
Davis said in a telephone interview from Japan early Monday.
¶ “It certainly is not cause for alarm,” he said. “It is something
we have to watch very carefully and make sure we are able to monitor, and to
mitigate against this environmental hazard.”
¶ The Navy personnel aboard the three helicopters had received the
equivalent of one month’s natural background radiation from the sun, rocks
or soil, he said.
¶ The helicopter crew members had landed aboard the U.S.S. Ronald
Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier whose on-board sensors had
indicated that the warship, too, had been exposed to airborne contamination
at very low levels. The helicopter crew members were tested individually
with hand-held radiation monitors.
¶ The carrier and its strike group were operating about 100 miles
northeast of the damaged power plant at the time, but the helicopters had
flown closer to assist in relief missions near Sendai, the city that bore
much of the brunt of the tsunami after Friday’s earthquake.
¶ The Ronald Reagan and other American warships have now sailed to
areas where they will not be in the path of radiation carried in the wind.
¶ “As a precautionary measure, U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and other U.S.
Seventh Fleet ships conducting disaster-response operations in the area have
moved out of the downwind direction from the site to assess the situation
and determine what appropriate mitigating actions are necessary,” Commander
¶ But he stressed that the fleet remains “committed to our mission of
providing assistance to the people of Japan.”
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: Navy Says 17 Americans Were Treated for Contamination
: By THOM SHANKER
: Published: March 14, 2011
: ¶ WASHINGTON — American Navy officials in Japan said early Monday that
: 17 military personnel who had been aboard three helicopters assisting in
: the earthquake relief effort had been exposed to low levels of contamination.
: Radioactive Releases in Japan Could Last Months, Experts Say (March 14
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