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Cyberattacks Grind Workers’ Benefit Program to a Halt

May 10, 2021

May 10, 2021

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Industry News

By Seattle Times Patrick Malone

Cyber attacks on the U.S. government have abruptly paused processing of benefit applications for workers who were sickened while working on nuclear weapons programs at Hanford and other Department of Energy sites, delaying aid to some dying workers, according to advocates.

Federal contract workers move contaminated equipment at the Hanford site. Some Hanford workers seeking federal benefits could face delays because of a database shutdown in response to cyberattacks. (Department of Energy photo)

Without warning, advocates from the Alliance of Nuclear Workers Advocacy Group received notice late last Friday that effective Monday, a vital component of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program would be offline for two to four months.

The Radiation Dose Reconstruction Program databases’ sudden hiatus could delay approval of new benefits for groups of workers who believe they’ve been exposed to workplace hazards.

Among them are more than 550 workers from Hanford, a mothballed plutonium processing site in Richland, who were potentially exposed to radiation and toxins when they were provided leaky respirators, according to a Seattle Times investigation last year.

Click here to read the rest of the article from the Seattle Times.