The United States Department of Justice announced Monday that it has now awarded more than $2 billion in “compassionate compensation” to claimants under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).
The RECA stems from 1990. It was started as a non-adversarial alternative to litigation for individuals who contracted certain illnesses following exposure to radiation as a result of the United States’ atmospheric nuclear testing program and uranium ore processing operations during the Cold War.
In 2000, Congress changed the act its present form, which allows for lump-sum compensation payments to individuals who contracted specified diseases in three defined populations: uranium miners, millers and ore transporters, who are eligible for $100,000 per claim, participants in atmospheric nuclear weapons tests who are eligible for $75,000 per claim and individuals who lived downwind of the Nevada Test Site, who are eligible for $50,000 per claim.
Compensation has been awarded to individuals residing in all 50 states.
According to the Justice Department, nearly 43,000 claims have been filed and 32,000 claims have been approved since 1990.