Former Oak Ridge Weapons Workers to Receive Federal Compensation

April 11, 2006

Agency recommends automatic comp for some Y-12 workers
Received by Newsfinder from AP
Apr 10, 2006 19:08 Eastern Time

A federal agency is recommending some sick workers from the Y-12 weapons plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn., receive automatic compensation under a five-year-old benefits program.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is recommending people who worked at a handful of Y-12 buildings from January 1948 to December 1957 be automatically compensated under the program.

The workers are those who were monitored — or should have been monitored — for inhalation of thorium, a radiation source, according to the recommendation publicized by the agency Monday.

Eligible workers must have a kind of cancer linked to radiation. They or their survivors can receive $150,000.

The government does not have enough data from those years to estimate exposure levels to thorium, according to agency.

Under the program, sick workers are supposed to automatically be compensated if the government can’t estimate their doses with sufficient accuracy.

The recommendation now goes to a federal advisory board, which will make its own recommendation. The Secretary of Health and Human Services makes the final decision.

HHS previously decided to compensate sick uranium workers who were at Y-12 in the 1940s.

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