"Attorneys from three states filed a class action lawsuit today against Erwin's Nuclear Fuel Services.
Law firms from Greeneville, New York and Rhode Island claim emissions from NFS are to blame for high rates of cancer.
Attorneys are fighting for their clients to get compensation for personal injury and property damage.
“No one wants to face the truth here and the truth is, I have highly enriched uranium on my property and I am 21 river miles downstream,” says Park Overall who’s one of the main advocates of the lawsuit against Nuclear Fuel Services. “I began to hear about all this cancer here, and we started to look into it. These chemicals and radioactive isotopes are related to particular cancers that we have too much of in the area.”
Overall says Monday's filing of the class action lawsuit is the biggest step so far for the Erwin Citizens Awareness Network (ECAN). ECAN is a group that’s researched NFS’s emissions dating back to 1954.
“The paperwork tells the true story, the lack of public regard for health and safety,” explains Overall. “How much was spilled. how much went in the air.”
Attorney John Rogers is with the Greeneville firm who agreed to take on this case, and Monday he filed the 40 page suit with the Federal Courthouse in Greeneville.
“[We} filed in United States District Court seeking compensatory and punitive damages for those personal injuries and also property damages.”
He says there's proof that NFS's chemicals have caused harm to it's neighbors.
“You don't have to go very far away from the nuclear facility itself to run smack dab into the pattern of significant cancers that greatly exceed the national average,” says Rogers. “There are about 20 cancers that science can trace to exposure to materials such as those being emitted into the environment.” Those radioactive materials linked to cancer he says are like those manufactured at companies like NFS.
Right now, there are about 20 names on this class action law suit.
Once attorneys review more medical records and backgrounds, the number of people suing NFS has the potential to reach the hundreds.
NFS issued this statement on the lawsuit.
"Although the company can not respond to the specific allegations. We take our environmental health and safety obligations seriously and we routinely monitor the work place and our employees to ensure we maintain a safe work place. We also monitor our emissions and the surrounding environment to ensure our operations are not adversely impacting the environment. NFS firmly believes that it's operations have not harmed anyone in the community and the company will vigorously defend itself against any lawsuit alleging otherwise."