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U.S. To Pay After Human Radiation Experiments

The U.S. government will pay $4.8 million for injecting 12 human guinea pigs with uranium and plutonium without their knowledge as part of a Cold War-era radiation experiment.

“Never again,” Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary said Tuesday. “Never again should tests be performed on human beings.”

O’Leary said $400,000 apiece will go to the families of the 11 victims who are now dead, and a woman still living in upstate New York. Doctors are not sure whether any of the 11 deaths were directly related to the experiments.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said the government has yet to compensate about 20,000 other people used for experiments in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s.

The 12 victims in the settlement were injected during the 1940s - 11 with plutonium, one with uranium - to see how the human body would react to an atomic bombing. The tests sprang from efforts to develop atomic weapons.

Nine of the victims received the injections at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester as part of a project conducted by the University of Rochester and the U.S. government. The three others were injected in Illinois, California and Tennessee.

Tags: ethics