The Ionizing Radiation Registry health exam
Veterans who served before, during, or after Vietnam may have been exposed to radiation from military activities including nuclear weapons testing. Radiation can be non-ionizing, which is low-energy radiation and comes from various sources, such as sunlight, microwaves, radio frequencies, and radar; or ionizing, which sends out high energy and may pose a health risk.
For Veterans who are concerned about possible long-term health problems related to potential exposure to ionizing radiation during their service, VA offers the Ionizing Radiation Registry health exam. The Ionizing Radiation Registry health exam includes an exposure and medical history, laboratory tests if needed, and a physical exam. A VA health professional will discuss the results face-to-face with participants and in a follow-up letter.
Eligible Veterans for the Ionizing Radiation Registry include:
- Veterans who participated on-site in a test involving the atmospheric detonation of a nuclear device, whether or not the testing nation was the United States;
- Veterans who participated in the occupation of Hiroshima or Nagasaki from August 6, 1945 until July 1, 1946;
- Prisoners of war in Japan during World War II;
- Receipts of nasopharyngeal (nose and throat) radium irradiation treatments while in the active military, naval, or air service;
- Veterans involved in “radiation-risk activities” including:
- Service at Department of Energy gaseous diffusion plants at Paducah, KY, Portsmouth, OH, or the K25 area at Oak Ridge, TN, for at least 250 days before February 1, 1992 under certain conditions;
- Proximity to “Longshot,” “Milrow,” or “Cannikin” underground nuclear tests at Amchitka Island, AK, before January 1, 1974.
To get an Ionizing Radiation Registry exam, contact your local VA Environmental Health Coordinator and set up an appointment. This exam is a no-cost exam. The Ionizing Radiation Registry is separate from the disability process, and Veterans interested in being considered for disability compensation still need to file a claim.