VETERANS' ADVISORY BOARD ON DOSE RECONSTRUCTION HOLDS SECOND PUBLIC MEETING
February 6, 2006
BETHESDA, MD -- The second public meeting of the Veterans’ Advisory Board on Dose Reconstruction (VBDR) was held in Los Angeles, Calif., from Jan. 12-13, 2006. The meeting included briefings on the Interactive Radio-Epidemiological Program (IREP) and the National Research Council report on Assessment of the Scientific Information for the Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program. Also included were presentations on the current status and activities of the Nuclear Test Personnel Review (NTPR) dose reconstruction program for Veterans, and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Compensation and Pension Quality Review Program. The activities and accomplishments of the four VBDR subcommittees (Dose Reconstruction, VA Claims, Quality Management, and Communications and Outreach) were also presented.
During the meeting, 16 Veterans and some family members gave public testimony regarding cancers and other debilitating illnesses they believe result from their participation in atmospheric nuclear testing and other radiation-related occupational exposures. They expressed concerns about problems with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) dose reconstruction procedures and some claims decisions made by VA.
The Board is planning to hold its third meeting in Austin, Texas, in June 2006, and a fourth meeting in the Norfolk, Virginia, region in November 2006. Meeting locations and dates will be announced when details are finalized.
DTRA and VA established the Board at the recommendation of the National Research Council report, entitled “Review of the Dose Reconstruction Program of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency,” and in response to a requirement in Public Law 108-183, the “Veterans Benefits Act of 2003.” The goal of the VBDR is to provide guidance and oversight of the dose reconstruction and claims compensation program for Veterans. In addition, the Board will assist VA and DTRA in communicating to Veterans’ information on the mission, procedures and requirements of the Board.
The Board will audit dose reconstructions and VA claims decisions for service connection of radiogenic diseases and improve communication with Veterans. These dose reconstructions are used by the VA to evaluate and decide claims by Veterans of the 1945-1946 occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, Veterans who were prisoners of war in those regions when the atomic bombs were detonated, and Veterans of U.S.-sponsored atmospheric nuclear weapons tests from 1945-1962.
Board members were selected to fulfill the statutory requirements mandated by Congress in Section 601 of Public Law 108-183. The Board was appointed on June 3, 2005, and is comprised of 16 members. Members provide expertise in historical dose reconstruction, radiation health matters, risk communications, radiation epidemiology, medicine, quality management, decision analysis and ethics to appropriately enable the VBDR to represent and address Veterans' concerns. The Board is governed by the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, Public Law 92-463, which sets forth standards for the formation and use of government advisory committees. The Board will meet up to six times per year.
Radiation dose reconstruction has been carried out by the Department of Defense under the NTPR Program since the late 1970s. DTRA is the executive agent for the NTPR Program, which provides participation data and actual or estimated radiation dose information to Veterans.
For more information, please visit the VBDR website at www.vbdr.org. For more information on the NTPR Program, go to http://www.dtra.mil/SpecialFocus/NTPR/NTPRHome.aspx
VA offers a wide variety of links and information for Veterans and their families at: http://www.va.gov/