Senate Democrats

Reid Wins Partial Victory for Nevada Test Site Workers

Administration Agrees to Streamline System for Compensation for Some

Washington, D.C. – A federal agency will make it easier for some Nevada Test Site workers to get compensation for the work-related cancer they suffer from, thanks to the efforts of Senator Harry Reid (D-NV).

In November, Reid asked the Bush Administration to give a special designation to the Nevada Test Site so employees who suffer from radiation-induced cancers automatically receive compensation. Today, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) informed Reid that it will initiate a streamlined process for some employees who were exposed to atmospheric testing.

“I remember as a kid watching explosions from the Test Site,” said Reid. “At the time, we thought it was a wonderful sight. But the men and women who worked there were exposed to cancer-causing radiation. We should be honoring their Cold War service by providing them with compensation, but instead they’ve faced decades of unnecessary delays.”

The Nevada Test Site who now suffer from radiation-induced cancers are eligible for up to $150,000 and medical costs if they can prove that, more likely than not, their cancer stems from their employment. However, former workers have run into repeated obstacles and delays in the process.

In November, Reid asked that the Nevada Test Site be considered a “Special Exposure Cohort” for workers through 1992.

Today, NIOSH told Reid that it will start the “Special Exposure Cohort” procedures for some of those workers – those who were exposed during the above ground tests at the Test Site, which ran through 1962. The “Special Exposure Cohort” will guarantee compensation for those workers who are part of the cohort, have worked at the Test Site for at least 250 days and have at least 1 of 22 designated cancers.

“This is not enough, but it’s a good first step,” said Reid. “At least some of our former Test Site workers are on the path to getting the help they deserve. I’m going to keep working until all our workers get their compensation, but for today I’m very happy with this step forward.”