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Home > Personal Injury > Harmful Substances > Compensation for Nuclear Workers

Compensation for nuclear workers

Compensation Scheme for Radiation Disease

In 1982, a number of claims for compensation were made by nuclear workers against British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) for radiation disease. This prompted a compensation scheme to be agreed between BNFL and the trades unions representing its workers.

The compensation scheme was designed to be an alternative route to the normal legal process and be quicker, more generous to the claimant and cheaper than the legal process.

At first it accepted only mortality claims (i.e. claims where the nuclear worker had died from a radiation disease), but this was revised in 1987 to also allow morbidity claims (i.e. claims for living claimants affected by radiation).

How the scheme for compensation grew

In 1987 the following companies also joined the scheme:

• United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA)
• Urenco (Capenhurst) Ltd
• Magnox Electric
• Nuclear Electric and Scottish Nuclear Ltd (SNL)

And then in 1993, the following companies joined:

• The Ministry of Defence (MOD)
• The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE)

In 1994, Devonport Royal Dockyard Ltd (DRDL) joined. In 1997 Rosyth Royal Dockyard Ltd (RRD) joined and in 1997 Babcock Naval Services joined. Finally, in 2005 GE Healthcare joined.

The success of the compensation scheme

The Nuclear workers compensation Scheme has now been operating for over 23 years and in this time has assessed almost 1200 claims. It has also provided access to advice for many other people who would not otherwise have been eligible to make a claim or receive any free advice about their situation. In all, 106 cases have resulted in compensation payments, sharing a total of £5.3 million. The majority of these payments have been made at levels below the 50% causation probability (meaning that the case was not straightforward and was more likely to fail than succeed if it had proceeded through the courts).

Do you qualify to make a claim through the scheme?

To make a compensation claim you must have:

  • Been employed by one (or more) of the Scheme employers, or their predecessor companies.
  • You must have had an occupational radiation exposure with one (or more) of the Scheme employers.
  • You must be (or have been at the time of your relevant employment) a member of one of the Scheme trades' unions (this does not apply to claimants who have been employed by the MOD or served in HM Forces).
  • You must have been diagnosed with a disease associated with radiation exposure. Alternatively, if the claim relates to a family member who has died from a form of cancer, the claim will be considered if an earlier diagnosis was made or if the cancer is listed on the Death Certificate.

The actual amount of compensation payable is worked out in the same way as for a successful claim in court. Factors such as age, loss of earnings, pain, suffering and family situation are taken into account.

Please visit our section on information and advice for more details on making a personal injury compensation claim.

Strict time limits apply to making a claim for any type of personal injury, so please contact an experienced solicitor as soon as you think you may have a claim for compensation.

How to Make a Compensation Claim

If you are a Trade Union member, you should contact your local trade union representative or local office. They will provide you with the necessary paperwork, information and further guidance.

For more information visit our Radiation Poisoning Page.

Telephone us now on 0800 783 9019 or complete one of our online compensation claim forms.

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