WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) announced her original co-sponsorship of bipartisan legislation that would strengthen the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which compensates individuals exposed to radiation while working in uranium mines or living downwind from atomic weapons tests. This legislation will extend the program for nearly two decades, expand eligibility to all Nevada residents exposed to radiation as a result of atmospheric nuclear testing at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), and increase the compensation for those affected.
“Nevadans exposed to radiation and harmed as a result of nuclear tests deserve better compensation, and I will continue fighting to see that eligible individuals get the support they deserve,” said Senator Rosen. “The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act has provided much-needed financial assistance to Nevadans whose health has been impacted by past nuclear testing, but the program is set to expire next year. This bipartisan legislation will ensure this important program continues forward, increases the amount of compensation provided, and offers a wider range of coverage for those impacted, including all impacted Nevada residents.”
BACKGROUND: This bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senators Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), would update the current RECA program by expanding the geographic downwinder eligibility and expanding eligibility for certain individuals working in uranium mines, mills, or transporting uranium ore. The RECA legislation would provide coverage under additional forms of radiation-related cancers, increase the potential compensation from $50,000 to $150,000 for those affected, and improve benefits for uranium workers and Tribal residents exposed to fallout. It would also extend the RECA program another 19 years following enactment, since it is currently scheduled to sunset in 2022.
In June, Senator Rosen also co-sponsored the Downwinders Parity Act — legislation that would extend eligibility for compensation due to sickness caused by radiation exposure from nuclear testing at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). This would ensure that all individuals in Clark County who were present during the atmospheric nuclear testing at the NNSS and exposed to radiation are eligible for federal compensation.