Key findings from the Center's nuclear employees health investigation

Key findings:

  • Former security guards in the U.S. nuclear weapons complex say a federal compensation program has wrongly denied their illness claims based on flawed attempts to reconstruct radiation doses.
  • The 15-year-old compensation program, created by Congress and run by the U.S. Department of Labor, has rejected almost two-thirds of the claims in which radiation dose reconstructions were performed.
  • Critics say the compensation program, which has paid out $12 billion, puts an unreasonably high burden of proof on claimants to connect their illnesses with exposures to radiation or toxic chemicals.
  • A Center for Public Integrity analysis found that the Labor Department’s toxicologist, who reviews complex toxic-exposure claims, almost never agrees that an illness is work-related.
  • A Labor Department directive issued in 2014 assumes hazardous exposures at Department of Energy sites weren’t significant after 1995, a premise claimants and advocates challenge.