Cancer linked to exposure at Antarctica Navy base after NewsChannel 5 Investigation via News Net 5

MCMURDO STATION, Antarctica – Five years after an exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation uncovered how thousands of navy veterans were secretly exposed to nuclear radiation, a government review board has officially linked exposure to cancer.

Thomas Wilborn served at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, where Navy serviceman lived, breathed and ate alongside what was then referred to as “a portable nuclear reactor.”

But an exclusive 5 On Your Side Investigation in March 2011 revealed at least “438 malfunctions from 1964 through 1972.”

Our report found “leaking water surrounding the reactor” as well as “hairline cracks in the reactor liner” and prompted two federal hearings that upheld our report’s findings.

The plant was eventually shut down and dismantled in 1972, but in the decades that followed, repeated cancer claims for service-connected disability filed by veterans were routinely turned down or ignored by the Veterans Administration.


The Disabled American Veterans in Washington has been a leading advocate for service related claims and called the appeal board ruling “very significant.”

Garry Augustine is the DAV’s Executive Director and  says several additional cases—as many as five—will need to be approved by the V.A. before “a precedent is set” regarding McMurdo claims.

“The medical report in this case was overwhelmingly in favor of the veteran,” said Augustine, who advises veterans with similar claims to consult with medical experts in low-level radiation and provide thorough documentation when seeking a service related claim.

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