Federal agency admits key records lost in McMurdo veterans cancer study

Report confirms nuclear plant leaked radiation

WASHINGTON - A federal agency investigating the link between cancer and a leaking nuclear reactor found years of key records documenting exposure have been lost.

The admission came during hearings prompted by an exclusive 5 On Your Side Investigation that first raised questions about the link between veterans cancer and the leaking nuclear power plant.

The findings were released Tuesday by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency that released its report on radiation exposure among Navy veterans who served at McMurdo Naval Base, Antarctica in the 1960's and 70's.

The report was included in hearings held by the Veterans Advisory Board on Dose Reconstruction to determine the extent of exposure caused by leaking nuclear power plant that was used to power the base.

The report found that only "partial" film badges that record radiation exposure were found for "some veterans" for seven years between 1962 and 1974.

And internal monitoring records for those working inside the nuclear reactor itself were found for only "some of the reactor crew members."

In other instances, "sufficient film badges were not available for statistical analysis."

In addition, while external radiation measurements were made in areas were radioactive effluent was discharged from the plant for a five year period between 1974 and 1979--records of measurements were found for only two of those years.

The report found evidence of even more missing records relating to external radiation measurements.

According to the 91-page report, "measurements of dose rates inside the nuclear power plant and the radioactive waste storage areas during operational and decommissioning years have not been located."

The report confirms those measurements were made at the time.

Veterans attending Tuesday's hearings are questioning the validity of the report due to the revelation that records are missing.

Even with missing evidence, the report concludes that "health risks are low" due to the radiation exposure.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, who was instrumental in calling for hearings into the McMurdo nuclear plant, says there remains unanswered questions that need to be resolved.

The report does provide a new, streamlined process for McMudo veterans to file claims and has created an 11 -page questionnaire for veterans to file to expedite claims--even for veterans survivors who have died from cancer.

Veterans who were once turned down have been asked to resubmit their claim under the new process.

Watch an exclusive report tonight on NewsChannel5 at 11.

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