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$1B In Payments To Sick Weapons Workers

The government has paid out more than $1 billion in claims to 9,134 Tennesseans made ill from working in the nuclear weapons facilities at Oak Ridge during the Cold War.

The Labor Department announced the latest tally on Tuesday, saying others may still be eligible who haven't filed claims. The Tennesseans worked at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, the former K-25 uranium enrichment plant or the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Since the program began in 2001, about one in five payouts have gone to Tennesseans.

The program provides compensation and medical benefits to workers diagnosed with cancer or other illnesses caused by workplace exposure to radiation, beryllium or silica.

Another $500 million has been paid to nearly 4,800 workers at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Kentucky.