History of Why Dose Reconstruction For Veterans Was Initiated
United States military personnel were involved in above-ground nuclear weapons tests from 1945 through 1962. In 1977 the radiation exposure these military personnel received as a result of their participation in these tests became a national issue.
In 1977 a front page article was published in the Sunday paper supplement, Parade Magazine, about a report of an increased incidence of leukemia in Veterans who had taken part in a nuclear weapons test at the Nevada Test Site. This test, Shot Smoky, was part of the Plumbbob Series conducted at the Nevada Test Site. The Parade Magazine story was an initiating event for the need to assess doses for Veterans who participated in nuclear weapons testing.
Each of the military services, Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps quickly set up offices under the coordinating direction of the Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA), a legacy agency of the current Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to collect information on Veterans who participated in weapons tests, information on their radiation exposures, and to respond to the significant number of inquiries that resulted. These offices were called Nuclear Test Personnel Review (NTPR) offices with the service name in front (e.g., Navy Nuclear Test Personnel Review (NNTPR) office). These offices coordinated the initial services’ responses to the individual Veterans and assisted DNA in responding to the Veterans Administration (Department of Veterans Affairs as of 1989), Congress, news media and the public.
Early on it was recognized that personnel dosimetry information for the Veterans was fragmented between the services, DNA and the Nevada Test Site. DNA was designated the responsible Department of Defense organization to address the radiation exposures of the Veterans for all of the services as well as to coordinate the services’ other NTPR activities. Since individual radiation exposure information often was not available, the need for a program of individual Veteran’s radiation dose reconstruction became apparent early in the NTPR program and was initiated by and performed under the guidance of DNA.
In 1987 the functions of the individual service NTPR offices were incorporated into a single NTPR office at DTRA, where responsibility for the dose reconstruction program and the NTPR program currently reside.
Learn about the Board »
Read the Charter for the Board »