Illnesses related to nuclear radiation incidents have affected many lives. In fact, Nuclear Care Partners reports that at least 105,000 workers developed radiation-related illnesses ever since American nuclear power plants started operations in 1945. The government has spearheaded movements to address the issue, one of them being the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA), which allowed at least 53,000 workers exposed to major nuclear radiation on the job to receive, at the very least, monetary compensation.
Background on EEOICPA
The EEOICPA paved way for qualified survivors or former energy employees to file claims relating to any illness caused by nuclear radiation exposure. EEOICPA enabled these people to receive compensation of at least $150,000. Atomic weapons employees and contractors and subcontractors of the Department of Energy are also eligible for compensation. Qualified people approved under EEOICPA may also take advantage of free home nursing care services.
Occupational Hazards in Nuclear Weapon Plants Triggered EEOICPA
Working at a nuclear power plant has many health risks: power plant workers may develop severe health problems such as chronic beryllium disease, different forms of cancer, and debilitating respiratory ailments. Besides the main energy workers, security personnel transporting radioactive elements like highly enriched uranium may develop prostate cancer and even leukemia due to prolonged exposure to the materials.
The occupational hazards became a national concern when the U.S. Public Health Service and National Institute for Occupational Safety released a study stating that they found alarming rates of death from lung cancer and other lung illness such as emphysema and tuberculosis among uranium workers. This report prompted the U.S. government to start a one-trillion dollar program to update their nuclear energy and weapons facilities. This also eventually led to the creation of EEOICPA.
General Program Requirements
Workers should first read Part B and Part E of EEOICPA to find out which compensation plan they qualify for. After determining the compensation plan, they will need to complete the application process found on the Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) website.
Thanks to EEOICPA, injured and/or ill-stricken workers can receive protection and benefits while on the job. They just need to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria and complete the required application form posted on the website.