Authorize a demand for US veterans exposed to Palomares radiation

Authorize a demand for US veterans exposed to Palomares radiation
1966 file photo of the Minister of Information and Tourism, Manuel Fraga (2-d), and the US ambassador to Spain, Angier Biddle Duke (d), bathing at Palomares beach in Almeria. (EFE)

In this way, veterans will not have to fight individually to get compensation for the diseases they consider derived from radiation.

The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Affairs has authorized the filing of a class-action lawsuit of retired US military personnel who were exposed to radiation after participating in the cleaning tasks in Palomares (Almeria), following the nuclear accident that took place in 1966.

As reported by Yale University, in this way, veterans will not have to fight individually to get compensation for the diseases they consider derived from radiation. The lawsuit, led by Air Force veteran Viktor Skaar, alleges that the authorities have illegally relied on failed scientific methods to deny veterans compensation for decades.

In Palomares, approximately 1,600 soldiers were deployed to clean up the area after two US planes – a tanker and a B52 bomber – collided in mid-flight causing four bombs to fall, in addition to the deaths of seven of the 11 crew members.

“For more than 50 years, the Veterans Administration has denied Palomares veterans compensation for our service, recovering, detecting and transporting 5,400 drums of radioactive contamination, ” said Skaar, who has shown his satisfaction at being able to continue fighting. For the moment, what this court has done is verify that the conditions for a class action lawsuit are met.

Many of his classmates, Skaar explained through Yale University, have died or are too sick. “I have been fighting this battle since I was 45 years old and now I hope that the decision of the court will allow me, with 83 years, to receive compensation for my many radiation-derived diseases, including cancer,” he added.