2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 9 May 2003 14:59:54 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Study Probes N-Tests Effects
Study Probes N-Tests Effects
By Christopher Smith
The Salt Lake Tribune
May 9, 2003

WASHINGTON -- By considerable margins, the federal government has often
underestimated the amount of radiation received by U.S. soldiers
participating in Cold War nuclear bomb tests in the Southwest and the

But a study released Thursday by the National Research Council
determined that even if the federal government fixes errors in its
so-called "dose reconstruction program," there likely will not be a jump
in the number of veterans with cancer who qualify for the federal
compensation payments.

"Although the committee believes that in many cases the veterans have
legitimate complaints about their dose reconstructions, veterans also
need to understand that in most cases their radiation exposure probably
did not cause their cancers," John Till, chairman of the study sponsored
by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, said at a briefing.

_From 1945 to 1962, the federal government conducted 191 above-ground
nuclear bomb tests that exposed members of the Armed Forces to
radionuclides, primarily through fallout. Most of the tests took place
in southern Nevada, but some occurred in New Mexico and the Pacific

_At least 19 additional "radiological warfare" tests were conducted at
Dugway Proving Ground in Utah's western desert between 1949 and 1952,
according to federal records that were declassified by the military in
1994. Fifteen of the Utah tests involved the "explosion of various
configurations of experimental" radiological warfare bombs. According to
a summary given to Gov. Mike Leavitt by the White House in 1994, "to
date, no indication has been found that any individuals were involved in
these tests as test subjects."

In 1978, Congress created a federal program to compensate veterans who
can be confirmed as participants in atmospheric nuclear tests and have
contracted one of 21 specified cancers, regardless of estimated
radiation dose. The program also allows for "nonpresumptive"
compensation for atomic veterans who have other types of cancers. But
those veterans only qualify based on the findings of a government
estimate of the radiation they received, a process known as dose

Researchers studied 99 of the 4,000 dose reconstructions done by the
Defense Threat Reduction Agency and found miscalculations and
inconsistencies. Doses from radioactive particles landing on the skin of
soldiers "do not seem to have been taken into account," while some
calculations in the reconstructions were illegible and could not be

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