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Over Five Million Dollars Paid to Former Huntington Workers
April 2, 2010
April 2, 2010
More Than $413 Million Paid to Portsmouth Workers
Article By Tony Rutherford
View the original article here.
Huntington, WV (HNN) – Based on statistics supplied by the U.S. Department of Labor (Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs EEOICP ) statistics 540 individuals have received a total of over five million dollars for occupational (atomic related) illness at the now buried plant.
Once on the grounds of International Nickel, the Huntington Pilot (Reduction Pilot) Plant completed then classified work for the Department of Energy related to radioactive metals, such as uranium.
For instance, based on CDC/NIOSH (Center for Disease Control/ National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) documents, the plant supplied nickel powder that was used to make gaseous diffusion barriers for the three gaseous diffusion plants AND nickel scrap from K-25 was shipped back to the HPP to be recycled into nickel power for future shipments to the gaseous diffusion plants. The scrap nickel may have contained 4-39% enriched uranium.
The plant shut in 1962 and was deemed contaminated in full. In 1979, it was disassembled and buried in trenches at the Piketon, Ohio, gaseous diffusion plant site in a classified materials location. According to an oversight report on the Portsmouth Plant the HPP was built in 1952 and produced nickel to supports Portsmouth, Paducah and Oak Ridge. “Since the plant contained material and equipment still considered classified, a decision was made to bury the plant at Portsmouth. Investigation by an industrial hygienist identified several health and safety concerns, including asbestos and nickel carbonyl. Sampling of residual material and surfaces indicated the presence of uranium.”
The X749A classified burial site also has classified records, tube sheets, compressor blades, classified parts, metal shapes clad with either zirconium or hafnium.
According to reports, the trucks and tools and railroad cars were also buried in the trench along with the plant remains.
The U.S.D.L. site stated that 1,066 claims have been filed representing 815 cases (540 unique individual workers living or deceased). Of those, 46 claims (39 cases) received compensation. This includes $4.98 million in payments and $85,000 in medical bills paid.
Rejection rates run very high for these claims. Of final decisions under Part B cancer cases, 76 claims of cancer have been denied as not work related (i.e. probability of causation less than 50%). 46 claims were rejected due to insufficient medical data. 11 claims were rejected due to survivor ineligibility. 27 claims on 20 cases resulted in $3 million in compensation.
Under Part E, 439 cases were filed of which 297 were “non-covered applications” (225 due to non-covered employment, 72 due to survivor not covered normally adult children barred by 2004 amendment). This left 142 covered applications and 121 cases. Recommended decisions pending have 29 approved and 67 denied claims. Final decisions have 25 approved and 67 denied (18 cancer not work related and 49 medical info insufficient to support claim).
Approximately $1.98 million dollars has been paid on 19 claims (and cases).
By contrast, the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant has processed 10,100 claims (7,060 cases of 4,001 unique workers). Payments and medical bill payment has been made on 3,311 claims (2,664 cases) representing $413,022,001 dollars.
Again, significant claims/cases are denied. Under Part B, 4,935 claims (3,352 cases) were filed and 174/110 were rejected for Non Covered Employment and 430/393 for Condition Not Covered.
However, Portsmouth claims/cases have a more than 50% chance for recommended for approval (2,156 approved; 1,717 denied) and 2,110 final decisions approved and 1,642 denied (cancer not work related, 919; medical info insufficient, 578; survivor not eligible, 145).
Of Portsmouth cases sent for Dose Reconstruction and Final Decision, 642 out of 871 were denied for Probability of Causation (POC) not meeting the 50% threshold.
For HPP statistics, click: http://www.dol.gov/owcp/energy/regs/compliance/statistics/WebPages/HUNTINGTON_PLT.htm
For Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion statistics, click: http://www.dol.gov/owcp/energy/regs/compliance/statistics/WebPages/PORTSMOUTH_GDP.htm