House Approves Money for Nuke Workers

Oct. 13, 2000
The House voted 382-31 yesterday to give government-paid health\r\ncare and $150,000 cash in compensation to workers sickened while working for\r\ncompanies involved in nuclear weapons production.

The House voted 382-31 yesterday to give government-paid health care and $150,000 cash in compensation to workers sickened from the effects of radiation, silica or beryllium exposure while working for companies involved in nuclear weapons production.

The compensation was included in a military authorization bill and expected to pass in the Senate.

Under the bill, each worker suffering from radiation, beryllium or silica exposure would receive a lump sum payment of $150,000 and medical benefits for life. Heirs of dead workers would receive the payments.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the program would cost taxpayers approximately $1.9 billion over the next 10 years.

Those workers and relatives who accept the compensation package would not be able to file lawsuits against the government or its contractors.

About 600,000 people worked in the weapons production during the Cold War, of which some 3,000 to 4,000 are expected to receive compensation. It is estimated that 10,000 uranium miners could be eligible.

Many government complexes and smaller private manufacturing plants that had government contracts around the United States assisted in the production of nuclear weapons and often kept employees in the dark about the hazards they were dealing with.

The Energy Department last spring reversed a 50 year-old position by saying that those workers injured or killed by weapons plant exposures should be compensation. It proposed a $100,000 lump sum payment.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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