A new class of workers at the Y-12 National Security Complex has been added to a federal energy employees compensation program that was established about two decades ago, officials announced Thursday.
The affected employees would have worked at Y-12 between January 1, 1958, and December 31, 1976. They would have been employees of the U.S. Department of Energy, its predecessor agencies, or their contractors and subcontractors. They would have had an aggregate of at least 250 work days. That could have occurred either only through this employment or in combination with work days that meet the parameters established for one or more other classes of employees in what is known as the Special Exposure Cohort.
The notice that the new class of employees has been added to the Special Exposure Cohort was published in the Federal Register by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday. Oak Ridge Today reported in December that the class was being evaluated, based on exposure to radiation from thorium metal parts and plutonium-241 isotopes, and reported in March that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had designated the class of employees to be added. The new designation became effective March 28.
The Special Exposure Cohort is part of the the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000. Being added to the Special Exposure Cohort allows eligible claimants to be compensated without the complete reconstruction of a radiation dose or a determination of the probable cause. A covered employee would have to have at least one of 22 specified cancers.
The new class of employees was added by HHS Secretary Alex Azar on February 26. The designation was announced in the Federal Register on March 15. When the designation became effective on March 28, those employees became members of the Special Exposure Cohort.
Among the employees already included in the Special Exposure Cohort as part of work at Oak Ridge sites are certain classes of workers at Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant (K-25), Clinton Engineer Works, Oak Ridge Hospital, Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies Cancer Research Hospital (ORINS), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (X-10), S-50 Oak Ridge Thermal Diffusion Plant, and Y-12.
The Y-12 classes that had already been included in the Special Exposure Cohort worked at the plant between March 1, 1943-December 31, 1947, and January 1, 1948-December 31, 1957.
The new class worked at Y-12 later (1958-1976).
Employees or their survivors from any of the facilities that are included are eligible for benefits if they contracted one or more of the specified cancers after they began their covered employment.
Separately, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH, is evaluating another class of Y-12 employees for possible inclusion in the Special Exposure Cohort. NIOSH is part of the CDC, which is part of HHS. This other class of employees being evaluated now could include all laborers who fabricated or processed uranium between January 1, 1977, and December 31, 1994, in any area at Y-12. A petition was received November 1 and qualified for evaluation on March 25, when a notice was published in the Federal Register. The dates and job duties are subject to change during the evaluation.
For more information, contact Stuart L. Hinnefeld, Director, Division of Compensation Analysis and Support, NIOSH, 1090 Tusculum Avenue, MS C-46, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1938. You can also call (877) 222-7570. Information requests can also be submitted by email to [email protected].
More information will be added as it becomes available.Y
Information about the Special Exposure Cohort petition process, including how petitions are evaluated, can be found here.
You can learn more about the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act here.
You can learn more about the Special Exposure Cohort here.
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