Greg Steube: VA Needs to Study Effects of Veterans Exposed to Enewetak Atoll Nuclear Testing Site

This week, freshman U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., introduced a bill calling on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) “to study the effects of radiation on veterans who were assigned to the cleanup of the Enewetak Atoll nuclear testing site from January 1, 1977, to December 31, 1980.”

Joining Steube in backing the “Enewetak Atoll Cleanup Radiation Study Act” was U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, D-VA.

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee on which Steube sits, something he mentioned on Thursday.

“As a veteran and a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I know the importance of listening to veterans to ensure they are receiving the care they deserve,” said Steube. “This bill will direct the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to partner with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) to conduct a small-scale study to review the findings from a previous radiation dose assessment (RDA) conducted by the Department of Defense (DOD). If there are discrepancies in the original RDA, I’m determined to get to the bottom of it.”

Steube’s office noted last year “the DOD determined veterans who participated in the Enewetak Atoll cleanup (ECUP) were not exposed to harmful levels of radiation” but “ECUP Vets, along with representatives from NAS, expressed concern about these findings in a meeting of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee last year—specifically citing issues with methodology and assessment in the DOD’s review.”

“This bill seeks to clear up some of the confusion around the original RDA and address our veterans’ concerns about their level of radiation exposure during their military service,” Steube said. “We’ve also asked that the VA and NAS report back to the committee so we can review and determine next steps.”

Luria is the only cosponsor of the bill. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.


Kevin Derby can be reached at

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  1. Was there as part of the second bunch of exposed soldiers and all the V A does is NOTHING… the government said it was safe, ok so how do I have so many issues with my health

  2. Well, if those of us who lived on Lowja and worked on Runit were never exposed to harmful radiation, then why are those island off limits (forever)? Then why out of 4300 Army/military personnel, 4000 are deceased from various radiation caused cancers and other illnesses. How can any background investigation be honestly conducted when the base numbers were in fact incorrect or incomplete? The rad badges and dosimeters did not function properly – how do you get a base statistic from that? Then how is it that after the Federal government released documents and information of the Project, we the survivors who conducted research into these documents consistently found discrepancies that stated the government/military knew it was dangerous/hazardous to the personnel on the Atoll and that the radiation levels were above safe levels.

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