Reps. Jim Hansen and Howard Nielson, both R-Utah, introduced legislation Wednesday to grant relief to individuals hurt by downwind fallout from the atomic weapons tests in Nevada in the 1950s and 1960s or by exposure to radiation from working in uranium mines.
The Hansen-Nielson bill would set up a $150 million trust fund from which awards would be distributed by a seven-man commission.
Claimants would have to prove the possibility that they were injured by radiation and the commission would be guided by "mainstream" scientific standards for radiogenic diseases and fallout exposures. Claims would be given the "benefit of the doubt" in close cases, the two congressmen said.
"The whole country owes a debt," Hansen said, "and it is time to pay."