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Radiation Exposure at McMurdo Station Antarctica

View of McMurdo Station with Coast Guard icebreaker

McMurdo Station, Antarctica
Department of Defense

The U.S. Navy operated a small nuclear power plant (PM-3A) at the McMurdo Station, Antarctica, from 1964 to 1973.

Operation Deep Freeze was the military unit launched in 1955 that supported scientists conducting polar research.

McMurdo reports

The Department of Defense (DoD) is reviewing the PM-3A Final Operating Report (4.2 MB, PDF) and other sources, and has started a dose reconstruction effort to characterize the radiation releases at McMurdo.

VA is consulting with DoD during this process.

Potential health risks

DoD and VA are assessing whether radiation exposure at McMurdo Station may have caused some Veterans to develop cancer and other radiation-related diseases.

VA already recognizes certain cancers and other diseases as linked to exposure to ionizing radiation during military service. Eligibility for VA compensation depends on a number of factors, such as the radiation dose and when the disease develops.

Health concerns?

If you are concerned about radiation exposure during military service, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.

Veterans not enrolled in the VA health care system, find out if you qualify for VA health care.

Need help determining exposure?

VA can help determine exposure during military service after you file a claim for compensation benefits for health problems associated with radiation exposure during service.

Environmental health coordinators directory
Find out if you’re eligible: Health Benefits Explorer


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