Outreach event for sick nuclear workers set in Erwin

From Staff Reports

   Nuclear weapons workers or their survivors can get help applying for benefits under a new federal workers' compensation program at an outreach event this week in Erwin.
   The Federal Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act, which became effective July 31, provides for compensation payment of up to $150,000 and payment of medical expenses to employees who become ill as a result of exposure to radiation, beryllium or silica.
   Conditions covered under the program are radiogenic cancers, beryllium diseases and chronic silicosis. Qualified survivors of a covered employee also are eligible for compensation. An amendment to the law passed by Congress in December means that adult children now are eligible for compensation if there is no qualified surviving spouse.
   Workers needing help filling out claim forms can schedule appointments at the traveling resource center by calling toll-free, (866) 481-0411, or drop in at the Tennessee National Guard Armory, 615 S. Main St., Erwin between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
   For general information about the program and to get claim packets, the public may contact the Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs at (866) 888-3322, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
   Facilities identified by the U.S. Department of Energy as having been nuclear weapons producers during the Cold War include W.R. Grace, now Nuclear Fuel Services Inc. in Erwin. W.R. Grace previously operated NFS before selling out to Getty Oil in 1968.
   Other facilities include: Y-12, Oak Ridge; Clarksville Facility; Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant (K-25); Oak Ridge Hospital; Oak Ridge Institute for Science Education; Oak Ridge National Laboratory (X-10); S-50 Oak Ridge Thermal Diffusion Plan; and Vitro Corp. of America.