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  • Radiation Exposure Compensation

  • Radiation Exposure Compensation

    Radiation Exposure Compensation Program -- Introduction

    On October 15, 1990, Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (the "Act"), 42 U.S.C. 2210 note (Supp. 1995), which provides for compassionate payments to, or on behalf of, individuals who contracted certain cancers and other serious diseases following exposure to radiation that was released during above-ground nuclear weapons tests or as a result of their exposure to radiation during employment in uranium mines.

    The Radiation Exposure Compensation Program (the "Radiation Program"), part of the Torts Branch, Civil Division, is responsible for administering the Act. The procedures established in the implementing regulations are designed to utilize existing records so that claims can be quickly resolved in a reliable, objective, nonadversarial manner with little administrative cost to the United States or to the person filing the claim. Part 79 of Title 28, Code of Federal Regulations.

    Radiation Exposure Compensation Program -- Categories and Criteria

    There are three categories of claims: uranium miners, downwinders, and onsite participants. There are two major eligibility criteria for each category of claims: exposure to radiation and subsequent development of a compensable disease.

    The uranium miner provisions of the Act provide a payment of $100,000 to, or on behalf of, underground uranium miners who worked in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming or Utah during the years 1947 to 1971. The miner must have been exposed to certain threshold levels of radiation measured by working level months of radiation ("WLMs") during the course of his underground uranium mining activities. The miner also must have subsequently developed primary cancer of the lung or one of the following non-malignant respiratory diseases: pulmonary fibrosis, fibrosis of the lung, cor pulmonale related to fibrosis of the lung, and moderate or severe silicosis and pneumoconiosis. 5(b)(3), 42 U.S.C. 2210, 28 CFR 79.31(h), (i).

    The downwinder provisions of the Act provide a payment of $50,000 to, or on behalf of, individuals who lived or worked downwind of atmospheric nuclear tests in certain geographical areas in Utah, Nevada and Arizona for at least 24 months (cumulative or consecutive) during the time period of January 21, 1951, and ending on October 31, 1958, or the entire period from June 30, 1962, to July 31, 1962. In order to receive compensation under the "downwinder" provisions of the Act it must also be demonstrated that, after the requisite length of exposure, one of the following specified compensable diseases was developed: leukemia (but not chronic lymphocytic leukemia), lymphoma (but not Hodgkin's disease), multiple myeloma, or primary cancer of the thyroid, female breast, esophagus, stomach, pharynx, small intestine, pancreas, bile duct, gall bladder, or liver. 4(b)(2), 42 U.S.C. 2210, 28 CFR 79.21(d). Each disease has its own additional requirements such as age at first exposure, latency period, and absence of heavy smoking and drinking. 28 CFR 79.22(b).

    The onsite participant provisions of the Act provide a payment of $75,000 to, or on behalf of, individuals who contracted a compensable disease after being present onsite, as a participant, during a period of atmospheric nuclear testing between July 16, 1945 and December 31, 1962. The test site locations where atmospheric nuclear testing occurred are: (1) the Nevada Test Site; (2) the Pacific Test Sites; (3) the Trinity Test Site; and (4) the South Atlantic Test Site. 4(a)(2)(C), 42 U.S.C. 2210, 28 CFR 79.42(a), (b). The onsite participant also must have developed one of the 13 cancers identified under the downwinder provisions.

    This information came from a
    US DOJ online article.

    *** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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