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Former workers at Concord nuclear ammunition site may be entitled to compensation for cancer

The federal government says former employees of Nuclear Metals Inc. in Concord may be eligible for compensation and medical benefits if they’ve suffered certain kinds of cancer.

The Labor Department says in a press release that employees who worked for Nuclear Metals, or a subsequent owner, at the facility from Oct. 29, 1958 through Dec. 31, 1979 for a certain period of time and suffered from one of 22 cancers may “receive a presumption of causation.”

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The Nuclear Metals employees were added to the “Special Exposure Cohort” of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act. That law provides compensation and medical benefits for people in the group who fell ill as a result of working in the nuclear weapons industry. Survivors of workers may also be entitled to benefits, the department said.

More than $9 billion has been paid nationwide in compensation and medical benefits under the federal law, the department said.

Nuclear Metals used depleted uranium to make tips for armor-piercing bullets and missiles. It was a lightning rod for controversy for years in the quiet picturesque community outside of Boston better known as the location of Thoreau’s Walden Pond.

The Nuclear Metals site at 2229 Main St. in West Concord is now a Superfund site.

Preparation work has begun and the US Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that site cleanup will take about three years, the Globe reported last month.

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