The History of EEOICPA
Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation
Program Act (EEOICPA) was passed by Congress and
signed into law by President Clinton in 2000. Congress
stated the law was enacted because nuclear weapons
production and testing involves unique dangers and
workers could be harmed by exposure to even small
amounts of radiation or beryllium. Congress felt that a
large number of Cold War nuclear weapons workers at
Department of Energy (DOE) sites and their vendor
workers had been put at risk without their knowledge or
consent. Previously secret records documented
unmonitored exposures to radiation and toxic chemicals,
as well as continuing problems at these sites.
to the enactment of EEOICPA, DOE’s policy had been to
litigate occupational illness claims. Because DOE
contractors were always held harmless it was nearly
impossible for nuclear workers harmed by their Cold War
work to gain compensation.
the last twenty years over two dozen scientific studies
have been published that show that some workers have
increased risks of dying from cancer and other diseases.
Several studies showed a correlation between excess
disease and radiation or beryllium exposure. Studies
also showed that 98% of radiation induced cancers in
nuclear workers occurred at radiation levels less than
the existing maximum “safe” levels.
EEOICPA was enacted to help compensate Cold War nuclear
workers for the damage that had been done to them by the