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Radiation-Risk Activity

Photo of a nuclear mushroom cloud.

The following groups of Veterans participated in what is called a "radiation-risk activity."

"Atomic Veterans," an unofficial term that refers to Veterans who:

  • Participated in the occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan between Aug. 6, 1945 and July 1, 1946
  • Were prisoners of war in Japan during World War II
  • Participated in atmospheric nuclear weapons tests conducted primarily in Nevada and the Pacific Ocean between 1945 and 1962
    Read fact sheets on the tests from the Nuclear Test Personnel Review office.

Veterans who participated in underground nuclear weapons testing at:

  • Amchitka Island, Alaska before Jan. 1, 1974
  • One of the following gaseous diffusion plants for at least 250 days before Feb. 1, 1992: Paducah, Kentucky; Portsmouth, Ohio; or K25 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Potential health risks

VA recognizes certain cancers and other diseases as linked to exposure to ionizing radiation during military service.

Health concerns?

Veterans may be eligible for a free Ionizing Radiation Registry health exam to check for possible long-term health problems related to ionizing radiation exposure. You do not need to enroll in VA's health care system to take part.

Contact your local VA Environmental Health Coordinator about getting an Ionizing Radiation Registry health exam.

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.

Find out how VA confirms exposure.

Environmental health coordinators directory


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