The U.S. government has compensated over 52,000 nuclear workers illnesses related to radiation exposure, but the process is complicated. Deaths resulting from exposure while working at the plants and the compensation process for survivors begs the question: How much is a life worth?
A whistleblower's ordeal: Exposed to radiation, then fired
Nuclear workers benefits under attack
How many ‘Calutron Girls’ worked at the Oak Ridge nuclear plant?
Fighting cancer, Smitty relied on Jesus and morphine
Byron Vaigneur's job as a health supervisor at the Savannah River nuclear weapons plant in South Carolina was to protect workers from the harmful effects of radiation. But he could not protect himself – he was exposed to plutonium while sitting at his desk in 1975 and developed cancer as a result.
In the early 1940s, the Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn., employed thousands girls right out of high school. They realized that their work was top secret, but they had no idea of the role the Manhattan Project would play in helping to end World War II.
Just like 54,005 other nuclear workers who have tried to get help from the federal government after getting sick, George "Smitty" Anderson Jr., of Augusta, Ga., never got a penny. He relied on Jesus and morphine to help fight his multiple myeloma.
As the federal government increases spending on nuclear weapons, health and retirement benefits are potential cost-cutting casualties. At the Pantex nuclear plant in the Texas Panhandle, 1,100 unionized workers went on strike to fight the threatened cuts to their benefits.
Ralph Stanton and 15 other nuclear workers were exposed to airborne plutonium oxide in an accident at the Idaho National Laboratory in 2011. He is one of more than 186,000 nuclear workers who have been exposed to recordable levels of radiation on the job since 2001.
The U.S. military has had a presence on the island of Okinawa since 1945. Long after the end of World War II, the small island has continued to be a strategic position for the United States and its allies, and a dispute has raged for more than 20 years over the Futenma base in Ginowan city. (Tiffany Tompkins-Condie, Adam Ashton and Natalie Fertig)
While announcing new bipartisan immigration legislation, Sen. Lindsey Graham discussed his friend Sen. John McCain's passion for "Dreamers" and how he passed his desire to pass immigration reform on to the South Carolina senator.
President Trump said on Tuesday that Congress should remain in session until senators can work out a health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. He also joked about Nevada Senator Dean Heller's political future as he sat next to him.