Recordkeeping at Hanford could be improved to track worker radiation exposure, including to ensure fair compensation for workers who develop cancer, according to an inspection report of the Department of Energy Office of Inspector General.
Issues in recordkeeping can be a problem for both individual workers and the federal government under a compensation program for ill workers, said the report released Monday.
If a group of workers’ radiation exposure cannot be determined because of lack of records, the compensation program conservatively assumes that working at Hanford caused any of a wide range of cancers and the federal government must offer compensation.
Recordkeeping issues also could prevent a worker from having complete records to make an individual case that cancer was caused by radiation exposure.
The Energy Employee Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) pays each worker $150,000 in compensation for cancer plus medical coverage. An additional payment of up to $250,000 compensation may be made related to wage loss and impairment
The program has paid out $1.7 billion to Hanford workers, former workers and their survivors in compensation and reimbursement of medical costs.
PAST RADIATION RECORDKEEPING INCOMPLETE
The review of the radiation exposure, or dosimetry program, at Hanford generally found that DOE Hanford contractor Mission Support Alliance was doing a good job of managing radiation exposure records for all Hanford workers.
But it raised concerns that about 111 tank farm workers hired in 2014 and 2015 were not given radiation history forms to fill out by their employer, Washington River Protection Solutions. Some may have had previous exposures at the Hanford nuclear reservation or other DOE sites.
The Hanford nuclear reservation is contaminated from the past production of plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program from World War II through the Cold War.
Hanford workers or the survivors of ill workers can learn more about compensation programs and how to apply for them at the Hanford Workforce Engagement Center at 309 Bradley Blvd., Suite 120, in Richland. The center can be reached at 509-376-4932.
Read more at Some Hanford radiation exposure records could harm workers and taxpayers, report says