WASHINGTON -- Ending years of struggle in the courts and in Congress, President Bush signed yesterday the first law that compensates American civilians injured or killed by radiation from the U.S. program to build and test atomic weapons.
Approved by Congress late last month, the law establishes a $100 million trust fund and is the latest in a series of extraordinary actions taken this year by the government to acknowledge and apologize for unsafe practices at U.S. nuclear weapons plants that may have resulted in injuries or deaths among workers and civilians.
None of the money will come from private industry.
Mr. Bush signed the legislation yesterday morning aboard Air Force One while flying to Dallas.
The president's approval came after the Department of Justice and the Department of Energy reversed the positions they had taken for at least 13 years, opposing any compensation.