David R. Fuller Workers Health Protection Program

The David R. Fuller Health Protection Program is the direct result of the dedication of former USW Local Union President David R. Fuller’s belief & desire that all former & current workers who may have possibly been exposed to unknown radiological & chemical hazards during the early operation of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

As a result of news revelations beginning with the Washington Post’s, August 8, 1998, Sunday edition, front page story, that workers at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, may have unwittingly & unknowingly been exposed to plutonium & neptuium elements, as a result of the government’s covert operations to recover these elements during the Cold War, with a recycling of spent reactor rods, commoning known as “reactor, or rat tails”, being sent to the Paducah facility. This operation began in 1952 through 1978, with only a handfull of individuals in the Atomic Energy Commission having knowledge of the covert operation.  Workers were not informed as to the materials they were handling, or the hazards associated with these materials.

As a result of these revelations, a Federal Investigation was conducted beginning in August of 1998 by the Department of Energy, the Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, & the National Institute of Occupational, Safety & Health (NIOSH), and other federal affiliated agencies.

The investigations reveiled documentation that as early as 1953, a Doctor sent to evaluate the recovery program, stated that “At least 300 workers should be tested, but as a result of plant managements fear that the Union would demand hazardous duty pay, none of the workers were ever checked or evaluated.”

This revealation resulted in Congressional hearings being held, with documentation entered into the congressional hearings record, that also resulted in legislation which listed Paducah, Oak Ridge, & Portsmouth enrichment operations as being (Special Cohort designations), and the orgination Worker’s Health & Protection Program, coordinated through Queens College in New York, with Dr. Steven Markowitz as Director of the program.

The federally funded Worker’s Health Protection Program provides health screenings, physicals, state-of-the-art Low Dose CT Scans, with diagonsis of early cancer screening.     

This program was re-named the David R. Fuller Worker’s Health Protection Program after the untimely demise on June 19, 2009, of former Local 550 Union President David R. Fuller.

The program at USW Local 550 is managed by Mr. Fred Buckley, Mr. James Harbison, & Mr. Barry Anderson.

Please feel free to contact them at the USW Local 550 Union Hall, during daytime hours for any questions you may have relating to this program.