DOE Openness: Human Radiation Experiment
Roadmap to the Project
The DOE Roadmap
In February 1995, the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Human Radiation Experiments published Human Radiation Experiments: The Department of Energy Roadmap to the Story and Records ("The DOE Roadmap"). The Roadmap summarizes the Department's search for records about government conducted or sponsored Cold War human radiation experiments. The records that document these stories are contained within 3.2 million cubic feet of DOE records at numerous locations across the country. This roadmap now gives the American people unprecedented access to an important subset of DOE's historical records and opens these records to independant research and analysis.
Published on August 17, 1995, Human Radiation Experiments Associated with the U.S. Department of Energy and its Predecessors ("The Experiments List") describes over 400 human radiation experiments associated with DOE and its predecessors. The summaries describe a wide range of experiments conducted from the early 1940s through the early 1970s.
In September 1994, the Office of Human Radiation Experiments, in collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, launched an oral history project. Historians traveled around the country to interview researchers and others possessing firsthand knowledge of the human radiation experimentation that occurred during World War II and the Cold War. The interviewers sought to enrich the documentary record, elicit missing information, provide researchers with a venue in which to share their thoughts on their activities, and respond to the criticisms these activities have engendered. The transcripts offer scholars and interested lay persons a vivid, inside glimpse of one of the most controversial chapters in our nation's postwar history.
The Record Series Descriptions enable users to browse summaries of available document collections at individual departmental facilities and national laboratories. These collections are useful in identifying where relevant documents are located within the DOE complex.
These historically significant documents provide an overview of DOE (and predecessor agencies) activities relating to human radiation experiments. They provide users with a great deal of "situational awareness". Users are able to view images of the original documents.
These once classified documents provide information on human radiation experiments during the early days of the Cold War. Users are able to view images of the original documents, replete with classification stamps, hand-written notes, and other marginalia.
Several recent congressional hearings, reports, and press releases are particularly relevant to the Human Radiation Experiments project. Here you will find three of the most important events which provide information on Governmental efforts to address the impacts of human radiation experiments.
On January 15, 1994, President Clinton appointed the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (ACHRE) to investigate reports of possibly unethical experiments funded by the government decades ago. The committee's methodology, composition, and key findings are provided in this report.
Final Report of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Committee. On October 15, 1990, Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 (RECA), which provided for compassionate payments to individuals who suffered from specified diseases presumably as a result of exposure to radiation in connection with the federal government's nuclear weapons testing program. Among those eligible for compensation under the Act are individuals who were employed in underground uranium mines in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah or Wyoming during the 1947 to 1971 time period, who were exposed to specified minimum levels of radon, and who contracted specified lung disorders. The Department of Justice administers the RECA through the Radiation Exposure Compensation Program.
In January 1994, President Clinton established the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (ACHRE) to examine reports that the government had funded and conducted unethical human radiation experiments and releases of radiation during the Cold War. The Committee published its findings and recommendations in October 1995. This report, prepared by the U.S. Government Human Radiation Interagency Working Group (IAWG), presents the Administration's actions to respond to ACHRE's findings and recommendations.
This recently-released report describes the Department of Defense's search for information on its participation in human radiation experiments. Within the report, the reader will find four basic types of information: guidelines for the search; extensive summaries of several projects which were identified as human radiation experiments or which attracted wide public attention, including total-body irradiation and nasopharyngeal irradiation therapy; brief descriptions of more than 2,000 projects identified as having some connection between humans and radiation; and references for obtaining additional information.