Rocky Flats Disaster: What Employees Can Expect

Doctor and nurse helping the patient
The Rocky Flats Plant disaster may not be as severe as that of Fukushima, but it still leaves residents near the area anxious and scared of possible plutonium exposure. Nuclear Care Partners says that employees who worked in the facility for many years may also be at a high risk of developing serious conditions, including cancer.

If you or a family member used to work in the plant and is currently experiencing an illness, perhaps it’s time to look into the programs set by the Department of Energy (DOE).


The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) was approved in 2000. It aims to compensate the affected employees or their surviving families for any illness they contracted due to radiation exposure. These employees are those who work for the DOE, as well as the Agency’s contractors and subcontractors. If they became sick or were exposed to toxic substances doing their duty, this Program aims to provide them with medical care and support.

The Separate Benefits

The act sets up two different benefits according to the eligibility requirements. For example, under part B, qualified employees and their survivors can receive a lump sum of $50,000 or medical benefit payments, along with $150,000 compensation.

What’s SEC?

Agencies such as Department of Labor and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health must perform a dose reconstruction process. This can take a lot of time.

The Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) is meant to mitigate this. These are classes of employees who don’t need to go through dose reconstruction as long as they worked on the recognized SEC sites for a certain period. If they have been diagnosed with any of the 22 cancers such as leukemia, bone cancer, and primary cancers of the brain, thyroid, or throat, then the SEC aims to give them and their families the immediate support they need.

Under Petitions 192 and 30, Rocky Flats plant employees who are eligible for SEC are those who worked on the site April 1, 1952, to December 31, 1958; from January 1, 1959, to December 31, 1966; as well as from April 1, 1952, to December 31, 1983.

Battling a work-related illness is tremendously difficult, but the Rocky Flats Plant incident has made the government more open in giving their support the affected employees and contractors. Survivors and their families can use the compensation to receive the adequate and quality at-home care they deserve.