Court Rules Vets Exposed To Radiation From 1966 Nuke Disaster Can Sue For Benefits

Military Times - An appeals court on Friday ruled that elderly disabled veterans who were exposed to ionizing radiation while cleaning up a 1966 nuclear bomb disaster in Spain are eligible to sue for disability benefits for their related illnesses in a class action suit.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims issued a 6-3 decision in the case Skaar v. Wilkie certifying the class of veterans, who have been denied disability benefits for illnesses they have suffered as a result of their service in Palomares, Spain. About 1,600 veterans deployed there after a B-52 Stratofortress bomber collided in mid-air with a refueling tanker and crashed. Four hydrogen bombs were released, and two exploded conventionally, littering the countryside with radioactive plutonium dust.

Veteran Victor Skaar, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant who participated in the cleanup, filed the case against Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie.


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