Radiation Exposure Compensation Act

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It’s important to note that while the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) does help certain individuals who were unlawfully and/or unethically exposed to nuclear weapons radiation – it only pertains to very particular years during 1945 and 1962. If you have been exposed to radiation after these dates – via your place of work or an industrial site that uses radioactive materials – this act probably does not apply to you. Contact OSHA to learn more about your rights.

The original RECA legislature came into being as a way of compensating those who were unknowingly exposed to the dangers of radiation as the US tested nuclear weapons. The majority of these tests took place above the ground in Nevada, Utah and elsewhere around the world. There were also smaller numbers of tests run in New Mexico other testing sites.


RECA Has Very Strict Stipulations in Terms of Who Qualifies

Throughout that 17-year span of time, hundreds of thousands of people were involved and/or exposed in some way via testing maneuvers. In addition to those individuals, others who lived nearby and within certain, downwind drift zones also suffered from radiation exposure, both during and after the tests. Then, there are also all the uranium miners and non-military workers who worked at or near nuclear weapons facilities and test sites who suffered radiation exposure, and potential exposure to other toxic elements.

These are the bulk of the individuals who qualify for Radiation Exposure Compensation through RECA – and they are broken into three different categories. There are specific stipulations even within each category of individuals that determine whether or not an individual (or his/her family) is entitle to compensation – based on proof of exposure, length of employment and the establishment of certain medical conditions.

Uranium millers, miners and transporters

Anyone who mined, milled and/or transported uranium between the years of 1942 and 1971 may be entitled to up to $100,000. Most of these workers who suffered from exposure developed kidney or lung cancers, although other conditions also qualify.

Onsite participants

Any military or civilian participants who were onsite at the time of nuclear weapons testing, and who developed diagnosable medical conditions that meet certain criteria may collect up to $75,000. If you were in the military and suffered radiation exposure as the result of the Nagasaki or Hiroshima blasts, you are not eligible for RECA.


Then there are those who lived and/or worked near certain nuclear sites and were susceptible to contamination via nuclear fall-out. Downwinders must have lived in specifically outlined regions in Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Also, any one applying as a downwinder must have lived in qualifying regions for no less than two-years, ranging from 1951 to 1962. With proper proof, these residents may be eligible for up to $50,000.

Some of the conditions required for eligibility in any of the above three categories include:

  • Cancer of the thyroid, lungs, kidneys, breast, esophagus, stomach, colon, brain, bladder, ovary, pancreas, small intestine, throat – and the list goes on.
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple Myeloma

While there is no doubt that radiation exposure causes cancer, particularly thyroid cancer and various leukemias, the type of radiation one is exposed to, the length of exposure time, etc., all play a role in whether or not a particular ailment is associated with radiation exposure.

Those who feel they and/or a family member are eligible for compensation through RECA can contact Department of Justice Radiation Exposure Compensation Program by phone at 1-800-729-7327), or visit their website at www.justice.gov/civil/common/reca.

What If I’ve Been Exposed to Cancer-Causing Radiation Through My Workplace

There are other programs available to protect employees who feel they might have been exposed to cancer causing radiation that resulted in a medical diagnosis. One of these is called the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP).

This program provides two forms of compensation – monetary payment and/or medical benefits and treatment compensation – to nuclear weapons workers employed by the US Department of Energy (DOE) prior to 1992. This includes anyone who worked for the DOE as a contractor or subcontractor. Qualifying employees must have worked within the arena of nuclear weaponry. Certain other workers, including uranium miners, millers and transporters may also be eligible.

If you feel you may qualify for compensation via the EEOICP and would like to file a claim, visit Benefits.gov’s EEOICP Compensation page, or contact the US DOL at 1-866-888-3322.

Do you work in an environment that puts you at risk for radiation exposure. Contact us here at Lancs Industries to discuss your radiation shielding options.

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