The Compensation Scheme
was started by British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) and it's trades'
unions in the light of experience gained from a small number of
legal actions against the Company in the late 1970's. These cases
related to BNFL employees who had died from cancer and the basis
of the actions was that their cancers had been caused by occupational
radiation exposure and the cases were supported by the claimants'
trades' unions. In the aftermath of these cases, the Company
and the unions recognised that the cases had been extremely lengthy
(some had been ongoing for over 5 years), very stressful for the
families of the claimants and very expensive for both sides in terms
of legal costs and expert advice.
It was recognised by both sides, however, that the causation of
cancer by radiation was now well-understood and that it should be
possible to construct a scheme which would evaluate the probability
that a diagnosed cancer may have been caused by radiation exposure
at work. Such a scheme could provide the basis for an alternative
to the normal legal process, but it was clear that to be accepted
it would need to be quicker, more generous to the claimant and cheaper
than the legal process.
Following further joint discussions, the Compensation Scheme for
Radiation-Linked Diseases was
established in November 1982 as a joint agreement between BNFL and its
trades' unions which were
(at the time) IPMS (now Prospect), GMB, TGWU, AEEU (now Amicus) and PCS. At
first it accepted
only mortality claims (i.e. claims where the subject had died from a
but this was revised in 1987 to allow morbidity claims. As a result of the
success of the Scheme,
it has expanded to include other nuclear employers and their trades'
unions. In 1987 the United
Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) joined, followed by URENCO UK Limited, Magnox
Electric, Nuclear Electric and Scottish Nuclear Ltd (SNL) in 1993, the
Ministry of Defence (MOD)
and the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in 1994, Devonport Royal
Dockyard Ltd (DRDL) and
Rosyth Royal Dockyard Ltd (RRD) in 1997 and Babcock Naval Services and GE
Healthcare in 2005.
With the expansion across the nuclear industry, other trades' unions have
joined the Scheme and
these are (or were at the time) EETPU and MSF (both now Amicus), UCATT, EMA
Unison, the First Division Association of Civil Servants and the AEA
Constabulary Federation (now
the Civil Nuclear Police Federation).
For a full list of current Scheme Employers and participating Trades Unions, please go to the relevant section here