Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 1515 (es) To amend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, and for other purposes. [Engrossed in Senate] ...

S. 1515 (es) To amend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, and for other purposes. [Engrossed in Senate] ...


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        S. 1515

                       One Hundred Sixth Congress

                                 of the

                        United States of America


                          AT THE SECOND SESSION

           Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday,
             the twenty-fourth day of January, two thousand


                                 An Act


 
    To amend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, and for other 
                                purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Radiation Exposure Compensation Act 
Amendments of 2000''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds that--
        (1) the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (42 U.S.C. 2210 
    note) recognized the responsibility of the Federal Government to 
    compensate individuals who were harmed by the mining of radioactive 
    materials or fallout from nuclear arms testing;
        (2) a congressional oversight hearing conducted by the 
    Committee on Labor and Human Resources of the Senate demonstrated 
    that since enactment of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (42 
    U.S.C. 2210 note), regulatory burdens have made it too difficult 
    for some deserving individuals to be fairly and efficiently 
    compensated;
        (3) reports of the Atomic Energy Commission and the National 
    Institute for Occupational Safety and Health testify to the need to 
    extend eligibility to States in which the Federal Government 
    sponsored uranium mining and milling from 1941 through 1971;
        (4) scientific data resulting from the enactment of the 
    Radiation Exposed Veterans Compensation Act of 1988 (38 U.S.C. 101 
    note), and obtained from the Committee on the Biological Effects of 
    Ionizing Radiations, and the President's Advisory Committee on 
    Human Radiation Experiments provide medical validation for the 
    extension of compensable radiogenic pathologies;
        (5) above-ground uranium miners, millers and individuals who 
    transported ore should be fairly compensated, in a manner similar 
    to that provided for underground uranium miners, in cases in which 
    those individuals suffered disease or resultant death, associated 
    with radiation exposure, due to the failure of the Federal 
    Government to warn and otherwise help protect citizens from the 
    health hazards addressed by the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act 
    of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 2210 note); and
        (6) it should be the responsibility of the Federal Government 
    in partnership with State and local governments and appropriate 
    healthcare organizations, to initiate and support programs designed 
    for the early detection, prevention and education on radiogenic 
    diseases in approved States to aid the thousands of individuals 
    adversely affected by the mining of uranium and the testing of 
    nuclear weapons for the Nation's weapons arsenal.
SEC. 3. AMENDMENTS TO THE RADIATION EXPOSURE COMPENSATION ACT.
    (a) Claims Relating to Atmospheric Nuclear Testing.--Section 
4(a)(1) of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (42 U.S.C. 2210 
note) is amended to read as follows:
        ``(1) Claims relating to leukemia.--
            ``(A) In general.--An individual described in this 
        subparagraph shall receive an amount specified in subparagraph 
        (B) if the conditions described in subparagraph (C) are met. An 
        individual referred to in the preceding sentence is an 
        individual who--
                ``(i)(I) was physically present in an affected area for 
            a period of at least 1 year during the period beginning on 
            January 21, 1951, and ending on October 31, 1958;
                ``(II) was physically present in the affected area for 
            the period beginning on June 30, 1962, and ending on July 
            31, 1962; or
                ``(III) participated onsite in a test involving the 
            atmospheric detonation of a nuclear device; and
                ``(ii) submits written documentation that such 
            individual developed leukemia--

                    ``(I) after the applicable period of physical 
                presence described in subclause (I) or (II) of clause 
                (i) or onsite participation described in clause 
                (i)(III) (as the case may be); and
                    ``(II) more that 2 years after first exposure to 
                fallout.

            ``(B) Amounts.--If the conditions described in subparagraph 
        (C) are met, an individual--
                ``(i) who is described in subclause (I) or (II) of 
            subparagraph (A)(i) shall receive $50,000; or
                ``(ii) who is described in subclause (III) of 
            subparagraph (A)(i) shall receive $75,000.
            ``(C) Conditions.--The conditions described in this 
        subparagraph are as follows:
                ``(i) Initial exposure occurred prior to age 21.
                ``(ii) The claim for a payment under subparagraph (B) 
            is filed with the Attorney General by or on behalf of the 
            individual.
                ``(iii) The Attorney General determines, in accordance 
            with section 6, that the claim meets the requirements of 
            this Act.''.
    (b) Definitions.--Section 4(b) of the Radiation Exposure 
Compensation Act (42 U.S.C. 2210 note) is amended--
        (1) in paragraph (1)--
            (A) in subparagraph (A) by inserting ``Wayne, San Juan,'' 
        after ``Millard,''; and
            (B) by amending subparagraph (C) to read as follows:
            ``(C) in the State of Arizona, the counties of Coconino, 
        Yavapai, Navajo, Apache, and Gila; and''; and
        (2) in paragraph (2)--
            (A) by striking ``the onset of the disease was between 2 
        and 30 years of first exposure,'' and inserting ``the onset of 
        the disease was at least 2 years after first exposure, lung 
        cancer (other than in situ lung cancer that is discovered 
        during or after a post-mortem exam),'';
            (B) by striking ``(provided initial exposure occurred by 
        the age of 20)'' after ``thyroid'';
            (C) by inserting ``male or'' before ``female breast'';
            (D) by striking ``(provided initial exposure occurred prior 
        to age 40)'' after ``female breast'';
            (E) by striking ``(provided low alcohol consumption and not 
        a heavy smoker)'' after ``esophagus'';
            (F) by striking ``(provided initial exposure occurred 
        before age 30)'' after ``stomach'';
            (G) by striking ``(provided not a heavy smoker)'' after 
        ``pharynx'';
            (H) by striking ``(provided not a heavy smoker and low 
        coffee consumption)'' after ``pancreas''; and
            (I) by inserting ``salivary gland, urinary bladder, brain, 
        colon, ovary,'' after ``gall bladder,''.
    (c) Claims Relating to Uranium Mining.--
        (1) In general.--Section 5(a) of the Radiation Exposure 
    Compensation Act (42 U.S.C. 2210 note) is amended to read as 
    follows:
    ``(a) Eligibility of Individuals.--
        ``(1) In general.--An individual shall receive $100,000 for a 
    claim made under this Act if--
            ``(A) that individual--
                ``(i) was employed in a uranium mine or uranium mill 
            (including any individual who was employed in the transport 
            of uranium ore or vanadium-uranium ore from such mine or 
            mill) located in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, 
            South Dakota, Washington, Utah, Idaho, North Dakota, 
            Oregon, and Texas at any time during the period beginning 
            on January 1, 1942, and ending on December 31, 1971; and
                ``(ii)(I) was a miner exposed to 40 or more working 
            level months of radiation and submits written medical 
            documentation that the individual, after that exposure, 
            developed lung cancer or a nonmalignant respiratory 
            disease; or
                ``(II) was a miller or ore transporter who worked for 
            at least 1 year during the period described under clause 
            (i) and submits written medical documentation that the 
            individual, after that exposure, developed lung cancer or a 
            nonmalignant respiratory disease or renal cancers and other 
            chronic renal disease including nephritis and kidney tubal 
            tissue injury;
            ``(B) the claim for that payment is filed with the Attorney 
        General by or on behalf of that individual; and
            ``(C) the Attorney General determines, in accordance with 
        section 6, that the claim meets the requirements of this Act.
        ``(2) Inclusion of additional states.--Paragraph (1)(A)(i) 
    shall apply to a State, in addition to the States named under such 
    clause, if--
            ``(A) an Atomic Energy Commission uranium mine was operated 
        in such State at any time during the period beginning on 
        January 1, 1942, and ending on December 31, 1971;
            ``(B) the State submits an application to the Department of 
        Justice to include such State; and
            ``(C) the Attorney General makes a determination to include 
        such State.
        ``(3) Payment requirement.--Each payment under this section may 
    be made only in accordance with section 6.''.
        (2) Definitions.--Section 5(b) of the Radiation Exposure 
    Compensation Act (42 U.S.C. 2210 note) is amended--
            (A) in paragraph (3)--
                (i) by striking ``and'' before ``corpulmonale''; and
                (ii) by striking ``; and if the claimant,'' and all 
            that follows through the end of the paragraph and inserting 
            ``, silicosis, and pneumoconiosis;'';
            (B) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (4) and 
        inserting a semicolon; and
            (C) by adding at the end the following:
        ``(5) the term `written medical documentation' for purposes of 
    proving a nonmalignant respiratory disease or lung cancer means, in 
    any case in which the claimant is living--
            ``(A)(i) an arterial blood gas study; or
            ``(ii) a written diagnosis by a physician meeting the 
        requirements of subsection (c)(1); and
            ``(B)(i) a chest x-ray administered in accordance with 
        standard techniques and the interpretive reports of a maximum 
        of two National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety 
        certified `B' readers classifying the existence of the 
        nonmalignant respiratory disease of category 1/0 or higher 
        according to a 1989 report of the International Labor Office 
        (known as the `ILO'), or subsequent revisions;
            ``(ii) high resolution computed tomography scans (commonly 
        known as `HRCT scans') (including computer assisted tomography 
        scans (commonly known as `CAT scans'), magnetic resonance 
        imaging scans (commonly known as `MRI scans'), and positron 
        emission tomography scans (commonly known as `PET scans')) and 
        interpretive reports of such scans;
            ``(iii) pathology reports of tissue biopsies; or
            ``(iv) pulmonary function tests indicating restrictive lung 
        function, as defined by the American Thoracic Society;
        ``(6) the term `lung cancer'--
            ``(A) means any physiological condition of the lung, 
        trachea, or bronchus that is recognized as lung cancer by the 
        National Cancer Institute; and
            ``(B) includes in situ lung cancers;
        ``(7) the term `uranium mine' means any underground excavation, 
    including `dog holes', as well as open pit, strip, rim, surface, or 
    other aboveground mines, where uranium ore or vanadium-uranium ore 
    was mined or otherwise extracted; and
        ``(8) the term `uranium mill' includes milling operations 
    involving the processing of uranium ore or vanadium-uranium ore, 
    including both carbonate and acid leach plants.''.
        (3) Written documentation.--Section 5 of the Radiation Exposure 
    Compensation Act (42 U.S.C. 2210 note) is amended by adding at the 
    end the following:
    ``(c) Written Documentation.--
        ``(1) Diagnosis alternative to arterial blood gas study.--
            ``(A) In general.--For purposes of this Act, the written 
        diagnosis and the accompanying interpretive reports described 
        in subsection (b)(5)(A) shall--
                ``(i) be considered to be conclusive; and
                ``(ii) be subject to a fair and random audit procedure 
            established by the Attorney General.
            ``(B) Certain written diagnoses.--
                ``(i) In general.--For purposes of this Act, a written 
            diagnosis made by a physician described under clause (ii) 
            of a nonmalignant pulmonary disease or lung cancer of a 
            claimant that is accompanied by written documentation shall 
            be considered to be conclusive evidence of that disease.
                ``(ii) Description of physicians.--A physician referred 
            to under clause (i) is a physician who--

                    ``(I) is employed by the Indian Health Service or 
                the Department of Veterans Affairs; or
                    ``(II) is a board certified physician; and
                    ``(III) has a documented ongoing physician patient 
                relationship with the claimant.

        ``(2) Chest x-rays.--
            ``(A) In general.--For purposes of this Act, a chest x-ray 
        and the accompanying interpretive reports described in 
        subsection (b)(5)(B) shall--
                ``(i) be considered to be conclusive; and
                ``(ii) be subject to a fair and random audit procedure 
            established by the Attorney General.
            ``(B) Certain written diagnoses.--
                ``(i) In general.--For purposes of this Act, a written 
            diagnosis made by a physician described in clause (ii) of a 
            nonmalignant pulmonary disease or lung cancer of a claimant 
            that is accompanied by written documentation that meets the 
            definition of that term under subsection (b)(5) shall be 
            considered to be conclusive evidence of that disease.
                ``(ii) Description of physicians.--A physician referred 
            to under clause (i) is a physician who--

                    ``(I) is employed by--

                        ``(aa) the Indian Health Service; or
                        ``(bb) the Department of Veterans Affairs; and

                    ``(II) has a documented ongoing physician patient 
                relationship with the claimant.''.

    (d) Determination and Payment of Claims.--
        (1) Filing procedures.--Section 6(a) of the Radiation Exposure 
    Compensation Act (42 U.S.C. 2210 note) is amended by adding at the 
    end the following: ``In establishing procedures under this 
    subsection, the Attorney General shall take into account and make 
    allowances for the law, tradition, and customs of Indian tribes (as 
    that term is defined in section 5(b)) and members of Indian tribes, 
    to the maximum extent practicable.''.
        (2) Determination and payment of claims, generally.--Section 
    6(b)(1) of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (42 U.S.C. 2210 
    note) is amended by adding at the end the following: ``All 
    reasonable doubt with regard to whether a claim meets the 
    requirements of this Act shall be resolved in favor of the 
    claimant.''.
        (3) Offset for certain payments.--Section 6(c)(2)(B) of the 
    Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (42 U.S.C. 2210 note) is 
    amended--
            (A) in clause (i), by inserting ``(other than a claim for 
        workers' compensation)'' after ``claim''; and
            (B) in clause (ii), by striking ``Federal Government'' and 
        inserting ``Department of Veterans Affairs''.

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