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12 23Fri10242014

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Back Local News Increased radiation compensation for Guam pushed

Increased radiation compensation for Guam pushed

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A RESOLUTION petitioning the United States Congress to amend the “Radiation Exposure Compensation Act” to include Guam and to increase compensation for those affected by radiation has been introduced by Sen. Ben Pangelinan, Vice Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz, Sen. Tina Muña-Barnes, and Sen. Michael F.Q. San Nicolas.

“The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act” (RECA) or Public Law 101-426, which was signed into law in 1990 by former President George H. Bush, only covered those who were affected by nuclear fallout during testing in Nevada and the Marshall Islands.

But last April, U.S. Sens. Mark Udall, Tom Udall, and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan introduced legislation amending RECA which expanded the downwind areas covered by the law to include several areas, including Guam.

The amendment would provide all claimants with equal compensation of “$150,000 regardless if they are milers, miners, ore transporters, onsite participants, or downwinders.”

Trust fund

A trust fund has already been started under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Program (RECP), which appropriated $100 million to support claim compensation by individuals who had been exposed to ionizing radiation. The program started processing claims in 1992.

More than a decade ago, RECA was amended, incorporating modifications to its compensation eligibility criteria and adding onsite participants to its list.

Guam Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo submitted a statutory amendment to the U.S. Congress after a 2004 meeting with RECP, leaders and other experts where it was determined that Guam was eligible for claims as onsite participants and as “downwinders.”

Guam, according to the resolution, is located approximately 1,200 miles directly west of the test sites, including areas in the South Pacific where the United States government and the Atomic Energy Commission conducted nuclear tests from 1946 to 1962.

The resolution also noted that on October 1952, Operation Ivy was conducted on Elugelab Island in the Enewetak Atoll, in which the first, true thermonuclear hydrogen bomb – code named "Ivy Mike" – was detonated which destroyed the entire island.

Charles Bert Schreiber, Lt. USN-Ret, in his sworn testimony regarding the fallout of the first hydrogen bomb tests of 1952, stated that Geiger readings indicated significant radiation found its way to Guam from the detonation of Ivy Mike. The testimony was corroborated by a report from the National Research Council.

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