A new Fort Worth Star-Telegram report has drawn attention to a pattern of occupational injuries and serious illnesses in workers at Pantex, a nuclear weapons plant in the Texas panhandle. Key hazards at the facility include chemicals in the maintenance warehouse, toxins on a production line, and beryllium, a cancer-causing metal used in the production of nuclear warheads. The paper reviewed federal totals for health care and compensation to establish the trend. Based on that research, about 20 percent of claims were approved at the plant, which is the nation’s top facility for nuclear weapon assembly, disassembly and maintenance. Now, about half are being approved for workers across the 16,000-acre site, including auditors, firefighters, laboratory workers, janitors and security guards. An estimated $171 million in compensation and medical bills for more than 1,300 workers has been paid since the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program began in 2000.
Read the entire piece from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram here.