60 percent of nuclear cancer cases denied

May 13, 2007

Compensation has been denied in 60 percent of 72,000 cases processed by U.S. regulators involving Cold War nuclear weapons workers stricken with cancer.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that only 21 percent of applicants have actually received a check from the compensation program that was unveiled in 1999 by Bill Richardson, who was Energy Secretary at the time and is now governor of New Mexico.

Walter McKenzie, 52, who worked at the Savannah River nuclear weapons plant in South Carolina, was so contaminated that radiation alarms at the facility would typically go off when he walked through, the newspaper said. Doctors later discovered 19 malignant tumors on his bladder.

McKenzie's claim for compensation was denied because he could not access secret government files or sections of his own personnel files. Without the records, he could not prove the cause of his cancer.

McKenzie had sought assistance under a federal program set up to "make whole" workers who were exposed to decades of hazardous working conditions at dozens of U.S. nuclear weapons facilities. A majority of the 104,000 other workers who sought such assistance have also been unable to access records to back up their claims, the newspaper said.

An investigation by Congress accused the Bush administration of trying to block workers' chances for payment.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: New national park marks development of nuclear bomb

Related Stories

What we need to do to prepare for a nuclear event

August 10, 2015

As we observe the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it may seem like the threat from nuclear weapons has receded. But it hasn't; the threat is actually increasing steadily. This is difficult to face ...

Nuclear waste a growing headache for SKorea

March 26, 2013

North Korea's weapons program is not the only nuclear headache for South Korea. The country's radioactive waste storage is filling up as its nuclear power industry burgeons, but what South Korea sees as its best solution—reprocessing ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.