EEOICPA CIRCULAR NO. 08-06 August 5, 2008
SUBJECT: Expansion of Nevada Test Site to include Area 51
The purpose of this circular is to notify all Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) staff that Area 51 is part of the Nevada Test Site (NTS) for the years 1958-1999.
NTS is a covered DOE facility for the period 1951-present. The DEEOIC considers Area 51 part of NTS for the period 1958-1999. The DOE categorizes Reynolds Electrical and Engineering Company (REECO) and Bechtel Nevada, Inc. as “captive contractors,” for the DOE and its predecessors, including both the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the Energy Research and Development Agency (ERDA). This means that employees of REECO and Bechtel Nevada who worked at the NTS, including Area 51, are DOE contractor employees, regardless of what information may previously have been received from DOE.
Additionally, staff is reminded that there is an SEC class in effect for the NTS. The NTS class in the SEC covers the years January 27, 1951 through December 31, 1962 and procedures for assessing inclusion in the class are outlined in Bulletin No. 06-16. DOE contractor employment in Area 51 counts towards the 250 days needed for inclusion in the NTS SEC class. This means that any REECO, Bechtel Nevada or other DOE contractor or sub-contractor employment in Area 51 between the years 1958 and 1962 counts towards inclusion in the NTS SEC class.
The determination that Area 51 is part of the NTS and therefore part of a DOE facility is based upon the Act. The relevant statutory section is:
42 U.S.C. § 7384l(12) The term “Department of Energy facility” means any building, structure, or premise, including the grounds upon which such building, structure, or premise is located
(A) in which operations are, or have been, conducted by, or on behalf of, the Department of Energy (except for buildings, structures, premises, grounds, or operations covered by Executive Order No. 12344, dated February 1, 1982 (42 U.S.C. 7158 note), pertaining to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program); and
(B) with regard to which the Department of Energy has or had
i. a proprietary interest; or
ii. entered into a contract with an entity to provide management and operation, management and integration, environmental remediation services, construction, or maintenance services. (emphasis added) 42 U.S.C. § 7384l(12).
DOE has acknowledged that Area 51 was the location of DOE operations and therefore the first prong of the definitional test is met.
With regard to the second prong of the DOE facility definition, DOE has reported, “The referenced area is one that had historically been part of NTS. In 1958, under Public Land Order 1662, approximately 38,000 acres (60 square miles) of land was administratively withdrawn by the Department of Interior for use by the AEC as part of its NTS. Following its designation as part of NTS, the area was then referred to as “Area 51” at some point during its usage by AEC….From 1958 until 1999 when the land was legislatively withdrawn for use of the Department of Defense (under the Military Lands Withdrawal Act of 1999, Public Law 106-65), the land was under the jurisdiction of AEC and is successors (the Energy Research and Development Agency, and later the Department of Energy. This satisfied the “proprietary interest” portion of the definitional test.
RACHEL P. LEITON
Director, Division of Energy Employees
Occupational Illness Compensation
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