available at the time on the activities of participants and the lack of dose information related to atomic tests. It is also important to note that these early studies were the first attempts to investigate effects among the veterans and set the stage for investigations that were to follow.

Concern among military personnel who participated in the testing program continued to grow during the late 1970s. By late 1977, funding was made available by the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA; now the Department of Energy, DOE) to begin reorganizing the master file of radiation-exposure records for the US nuclear-testing program. The Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA; now DTRA) had been designated as the responsible DOD agency to address radiation exposure of atomic veterans.

Effects of radiation exposure on military personnel participating in atmospheric nuclear-weapons testing soon became of interest to Congress, which held hearings on the matter. Congress played an important role not only in opening a forum and making sure funding was available to estimate personnel exposure, but also in opening archives to make available documents, many of which had to be declassified. In January 1978, the Nuclear Test Personnel Review (NTPR) program4 was officially initiated as a coordinated effort of the DNA and the Energy Research and Development Administration. Science Applications Incorporated (now Science Applications International Corporation, SAIC) has held a contract to perform dose reconstructions on military personnel almost since the inception of the NTPR program.

One of the first attempts to gather information was a program where veterans were encouraged to call a toll-free number and register data related to their participation. This program was advertised in various military publications. Once a veteran called in, forms were sent to him to provide a written account of his experience in the atmospheric testing program. These data were collected in a database called “File A” that is still retained as part of a veteran’s record. Subsequently, a “File B” was established to collect data from historical documents.

Originally, each branch of the service had an NTPR team to handle its own members’ dose reconstructions. However, that led to disparities between methods and assumptions in estimating personnel doses. In 1983, it was decided to consolidate the teams at DNA and make procedures for dose reconstruction more consistent across the services.

SAIC continued to perform dose reconstructions for DNA and eventually teamed with JAYCOR, which is responsible for confirming a veteran’s status as a participant in the testing program and for developing historical background

4  

The beginning effort to evaluate effects of atmospheric nuclear-weapons tests on atomic veterans was known as the Nuclear Test Personnel Review. Later, as more agencies were brought into the effort, it became known as the Nuclear Test Personnel Review program. Although the committee makes an effort to distinguish between the two names on the basis of the period being addressed, the reader should consider the two names as synonyms.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement