* This site is privately owned and is not affiliated or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.

Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA)

Definition

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) is a U.S. federal law enacted in 1990 that provides financial compensation to individuals who developed serious illnesses as a result of their exposure to radiation during U.S. atmospheric nuclear tests or uranium mining, milling, and transport activities. The purpose of RECA is to acknowledge the responsibility of the U.S. government for the compensable harm caused by its nuclear program from 1945 to 1962. Eligible claimants include certain on-site participants in nuclear tests, downwinders affected by testing, and uranium workers who faced radioactive exposure.

Key Takeaways

  1. Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) is a federal law passed in 1990 that provides financial compensation and benefits to individuals who were exposed to ionizing radiation during atmospheric nuclear tests or who worked in the uranium industry during specific time periods.
  2. Under RECA, eligible claimants include atomic veterans, on-site participants, and uranium workers, among others, who have developed specific radiation-related illnesses or conditions due to their exposure.
  3. To receive compensation, eligible individuals must submit a claim to the U.S. Department of Justice’s RECA program, providing proof of their exposure, medical records, and other required documentation. The compensation amount varies depending on the illness and the claimant’s involvement with the nuclear testing or uranium industry.

Importance

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) is an important piece of legislation because it acknowledges and offers reparation to individuals who have suffered from health issues caused by exposure to radiation during U.S.

nuclear weapons tests or uranium mining, milling, and transportation.

This act demonstrates the government’s recognition of the detrimental consequences of these activities on public health and the environment.

By providing financial compensation, medical benefits, and support to eligible claimants who were directly affected by radiation exposure, RECA helps to alleviate some of the burdens faced by these individuals and their families, reflecting the government’s commitment to addressing the long-term consequences of its nuclear history.

Explanation

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) was enacted in 1990 to address the adverse health effects of individuals exposed to ionizing radiation during atmospheric nuclear tests and uranium mining, milling, and ore transporting activities. The primary purpose of this act was to provide a fair and efficient means of compensating victims who suffered from severe health issues stemming from their involvement in these activities.

This included those directly involved, such as uranium miners and nuclear test participants, as well as those unintentionally exposed to radioactive materials, known as “downwinders.”RECA is utilized to provide financial compensation to eligible claimants who can demonstrate that their health has been significantly impacted by their exposure to ionizing radiation. The compensation not only acknowledges the sacrifices made by those individuals but also serves as a form of restitution for a lack of appropriate safety measures taken by the government and private industries during those times.

The program has been amended several times since its inception to expand the list of eligible individuals and increase the amount of compensation awarded. By compensating the victims of radiation exposure, RECA plays a vital role in remedying the past injustices and helping the affected individuals receive necessary financial support for their health care needs.

Examples of Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA)

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) was passed by the United States Congress in 1990 to provide financial compensation to individuals who suffered health issues resulting from exposure to radiation during nuclear weapons testing and uranium mining, milling, and transportation. Here are three real-world examples related to RECA:

Downwinders: These are individuals who lived in specific areas of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, where they were exposed to radioactive fallout from nuclear tests conducted at the Nevada Test Site between 1951 and

These individuals suffered a variety of health problems, including cancer, due to their exposure to radiation. RECA allows these “downwinders” to claim compensation of $50,000 if they can prove they lived in the affected areas during the testing period and developed specific radiation-related illnesses.

On-site Participants: These individuals participated in the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons either as a member of the U.S. military or as a civilian employee of the federal government, and as a result were exposed to ionizing radiation. RECA provides $75,000 in compensation to these individuals if they can provide proof of their participation in the tests and if they developed illnesses related to radiation exposure.

Uranium Workers: RECA also covers individuals who worked in the uranium mining, milling, and transportation industry during specific periods. These workers were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation and, as a result, often developed health issues such as lung cancer or other respiratory diseases. RECA offers compensation of $100,000 to these workers if they can prove their employment in the industry during the designated time periods and show they suffer from a radiation-related illness.

Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) FAQ

What is the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA)?

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) is a federal law that provides compensation to individuals who have developed illnesses due to exposure to radiation from nuclear weapons testing and uranium mining, milling, and ore transportation. The act aims to assist those affected by recognizing the sacrifices made during the development of America’s nuclear program.

Who is eligible for RECA benefits?

RECA provides benefits to three main groups of people: on-site participants in certain above-ground nuclear tests, downwinders who lived in designated areas affected by nuclear fallout, and uranium miners, millers, and ore transporters who were employed in the industry during specific time periods. Specific eligibility criteria apply to each group, and affected individuals must provide evidence of their exposure and medical conditions.

What compensation is available under RECA?

Eligible claimants can receive compensation from the United States government ranging from $50,000 to $100,000, depending on the nature of their claim. This payment is for personal injury and is not considered income for taxation purposes. Surviving immediate family members may also be eligible for compensation if the affected individual is deceased.

How do I apply for RECA benefits?

To apply for RECA benefits, individuals must fill out an application, provide required documentation, and submit their claim to the United States Department of Justice. Applications and instructions can be found on the Department of Justice’s RECA website. Once submitted, the Department of Justice will review the claim and determine its eligibility.

What is the time limit for filing a RECA claim?

Claims under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act must be filed within 22 years from the date of the enactment of the Act, which was October 15, 1990. The deadline for submitting a claim is October 15, 2022. After this date, no new claims will be accepted.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Ionizing Radiation Exposure
  • Downwinder Compensation
  • Uranium Miner Benefits
  • Atomic Veterans Benefits
  • Onsite Participant Compensation

Sources for More Information