A federal agency investigating the link between veterans cancer and a leaking nuclear reactor found years of key records documenting exposure have been lost.
An exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation into a leaking nuclear plant and veterans cancer claims has prompted a swift reaction by a U.S. Senator who is promising to get answers.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, from Ohio, was the first to provide assistance to veterans following the original investigation that aired in March.
A second investigative report into a nuclear plant operated by the Navy at McMurdo Station, Antarctica aired Wednesday night and revealed even more flaws in the troubled reactor. The nuclear plant operated during the 1960s and 1970s, but was shut down in 1973. Our report documented hundreds of malfunctions, including radiation leaks.
Brown said he will again ask Veterans Administration Secretary Eric Shinseki to look into whether veterans are eligible for service related compensation due to radiation exposure at McMurdo. And he doesn't rule out eventually calling for congressional hearings into what the Navy knew about radiation leaks and how the plant functioned.
"I'd call for a congressional hearing if I think that will work," said Brown, who will first appeal to VA Secretary Shinseki for assistance.
"I want to see what Secretary Shinseki can do at the VA but we need him to move quickly and I am optimistic he will."
An Ohio veteran dying of cancer asked NewsChannel5 to investigate whether his service at McMurdo may have caused his cancer. His widow, Elaine Swinney, contacted the station after his death asking for help.
Fellow veterans around the country have long suspected a link between the plant and their cancers.
"It's mind boggling," said Swinney, "this information has been out there and it now being discovered."
Federal hearings prompted by an exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation into radiation exposure among McMurdo Navy veterans are scheduled to begin Tuesday morning.
A Navy veteran who helped trigger a federal probe into a leaking nuclear plant at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, has died of cancer just weeks before a government report on radiation exposure is due to be released.
Journalism judges around the country have honored Chief Investigator Ron Regan with the Peabody, Edward R. Murrow and regional Emmy awards in recent weeks, but something Regan received Thursday may be his most prized keepsake of all.