Amendment will expand ‘downwinder’ status to affected Coloradans and extend claim deadline until 2042
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper celebrated the inclusion of a bipartisan amendment in the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to expand and extend benefits for individuals who developed illnesses after exposure to radiation from nuclear weapons development tests and uranium mining in the United States.
“Coloradans developed serious health conditions from the development of nuclear weapons and uranium mining. There’s no excuse for our government to deny compensation that these victims rightfully deserve,” said Hickenlooper.
Specifically, the amendment would extend the deadline for filing Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) claims by 19 years and expand the area of eligible residents to eight states and territories, including Colorado.
Passed by Congress in 1990, the RECA program provides a one-time, lump-sum compensation to individuals who developed cancer and other diseases after exposure to radiation from nuclear weapons development tests and uranium mining and processing work starting in the 1940s. Since its creation, the RECA program has provided over $2 billion to more than 45,000 individuals.
Hickenlooper was a cosponsor of the RECA Extension Act of 2022, which extended the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) program by two years. President Biden signed the legislation into law in June 2022, pushing the deadline to July 2024. Hickenlooper is also a cosponsor on the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2023, which was largely included in the Senate-passed NDAA amendment.
The Senate passed their version of the NDAA two weeks ago. The NDAA next will be conferenced between the House and the Senate to work out differences before a final vote and being sent to President Biden’s desk to become law.