NAME OF EMPLOYEE:
This letter is in reference to your claim for compensation under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA).
Your case previously underwent a dose reconstruction by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Later, the Department of Labor (DOL) used this dose reconstruction to make a decision about your eligibility for benefits under EEOICPA, which resulted in a denial of your claim for benefits.
On March 29, 2007, NIOSH advised us about a change they made to their underlying method by which they perform dose reconstructions for certain facilities. (This change was explained in a document called OCAS-PEP-012, Program Evaluation Plan: Evaluation of Highly Insoluble Plutonium Compounds.) NIOSH has decided that it did not properly account for a particular type of radioactive material (highly insoluble forms of plutonium or “Super S”) that could have been present at certain atomic weapon production facilities. Therefore, NIOSH has decided that they must make changes to the model they use for dose reconstructions.
NIOSH has advised the Department of Labor (DOL) that as of February 6, 2007 they began using a new model for performing dose reconstructions at the following facilities:
Albuquerque Operations Office
Argonne National Laboratory-East
Argonne National Laboratory-West
Area IV Santa Susana
Battelle (King and/or W. Jefferson)
Conn. Aircraft Nuclear Eng. Lab
General Electric-Evendale (Ohio)
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
National Engineering Environmental Laboratory (INEEL)
Nevada Site Office
Nevada Test Site (NTS)
Nuclear Material and Equipment Corporation
Nuclear Material and Equipment Corporation (Parks Township)
Standard Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC)
Sandia National Lab (SNL)
Separations Process Research Unit (Knolls)
Savannah River Site
Tonopah Test Site
Westinghouse Nuclear Fuels Division
At this time, DOL does not know if the change in guidance will increase the amount of radiation estimated in the new dose reconstruction or increase the probability of causation enough to get to 50%. However, our records show that your case may be impacted by NIOSH’s change in guidance. Therefore, we are requesting that NIOSH: (1) determine if your case requires a new dose reconstruction and (2) notify you and DOL of their determination.
Presently, you do not need to take any action. If NIOSH determines that your case needs a new dose reconstruction, DOL will issue a Director’s Order that will invalidate your prior dose reconstruction and formally reopen your claim. Next, DOL would return your case to NIOSH for a new dose reconstruction using the most recent NIOSH guidance.
However, you should know that even if NIOSH does a new dose reconstruction for your case, there is no assurance that this would result in a change to your eligibility for EEOICPA benefits. Nevertheless, DOL believes this is the only way to ensure the fair and complete adjudication of your claim -- regardless of outcome.
Should you have questions regarding NIOSH’s changes initiated in the dose reconstruction process or OCAS-PEP-012, Program Evaluation Plan: Evaluation of Highly Insoluble Plutonium Compounds, please contact NIOSH directly at 1-800-35-NIOSH.