Meetings planned to assist cancer-stricken SRS workers

Workers with job-related cancer could benefit

Monday, April 9, 2012 4:58 PM
Last updated Tuesday, April 10, 2012 2:23 AM
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A program to compensate nuclear weapons workers diagnosed with certain cancers is adding a new eligibility class to assist former Savannah River Site employees, including those whose previous claims might have been rejected.

“As part of this change, there are about 800 cases previously denied that we are reopening,” said Gary Stein­berg, the acting director for the U.S. Labor De­partment’s Office of Worker Com­pens­ation Programs. “We’d also like to reach out to anyone eligible who has not been previously involved.”

The program, authorized 11 years ago under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act, already has provided $501 million in benefits to 3,885 SRS claimants – part of $7.9 billion paid out nationwide to nuclear weapons industry workers with job-related sicknesses.

The new class for SRS became effective in March and applies to former workers diagnosed with any of 22 cancers and who worked at the site between Jan. 1, 1953, and Sept. 30, 1972.

Although there are other assistance programs for workers in later years, the 1953-72 time frame was identified as a period when workers were more prone to occupational illness related to nuclear weapons production.

“Back in the ’40s and ’50s, we didn’t really understand the implications of what would happen to people exposed to radiation, or to other toxic materials,” Steinberg said. “In some cases, the impacts took decades to manifest itself.”

The new class designation will make it easier for former workers or their survivors to file claims and will automatically allow previously rejected claims to be re-examined. Types of compensation range from a lump sum of up to $150,000 to other benefit combinations that total about $400,000.

Previously, former SRS employees diagnosed with one or more of the 22 designated cancers – of which lung, colon and breast cancers were the most common – had to undergo a “radiation dose reconstruction” performed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health before they could receive compensation.

The process, which included a formula to gauge the likelihood that a particular cancer was linked to the claimant’s job, took an average of 1,024 days to complete.

Under the newly created Special Exposure Cohort class, claims will be processed much faster – usually in less than six months – because cases will no longer be sent to NIOSH for a dose reconstruction.

Also, claims previously denied will be reviewed and workers diagnosed with cancer will be given a “presumption of causation,” meaning “it is at least as likely as not” their cancer is related to exposure to radiation at SRS.


The Department of Labor will hold two town hall meetings in Augusta to offer information about the new class and the changes in the compensation program. Both will be April 17 at Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center, No. 2 10 St.

• The first meeting begins at 10 a.m., with resource staffers available to help people from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• The second meeting begins at 5 p.m., with staffers available from 3-8 p.m.

For details, call the Savannah River Resource Center at (866) 666-4606.


• The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program:

• How claims will be processed:

• How to file a claim:

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freespeach 04/09/12 - 06:16 pm
Unbelievable! The

Unbelievable! The entitlements continue. At taxpayer expense.
So now federal government employees decided that fellow federal government employees who worked at SRS no longer have to be tested to see if their cancer is work related. If the cancer is not work related, they still get a huge payoff. What a ripoff!

freespeach 04/09/12 - 06:25 pm
SRS claimed it was safe all

SRS claimed it was safe all those years. Now they want to claim it wasn't. Bull!
They see a chance to cash in once more. So, they claim that they didn't really know what they were doing, that it really wasn't safe and now they should be paid for it, no questions asked.

broad street narrow mind
broad street narrow mind 04/10/12 - 08:51 am
ridiculous. ridiculous.

ridiculous. ridiculous. disgusting. we are a savage people.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 04/10/12 - 09:08 am
Lung, colon, and breast

Lung, colon, and breast cancer now covered for the bonus; no questions asked. That's okay. It's just other people's money.

Clean Water
Clean Water 04/10/12 - 10:25 am
Steinberg said. “In some

Steinberg said. “In some cases, the impacts took decades to manifest itself.” How long will it take to admit that people that live near and below the site have been affected. There are people that drink water and still eat fish from the Savannah River, many of these are children. Radiation has been indentified in some fish.

seenitB4 04/10/12 - 10:30 am
clean water...I agree with

clean water...I agree with you.....I remember neighbors having face-throat cancer.....many of these men worked at SRS........some on the outside equipment ...they are gone now....died at early ages much we still don't know.
I have said this B4 ..pls check your water & soil esp, if you live south of srs....anywhere near the river & Burke county ...

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