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The Battle

Now, more than 50 years later, many of those who worked long hours assembling nuclear parts or working in test labs, including Gail Balser’s father, battled or are still battling cancer, and many – apparently including the government – know the cancers may have been caused by their work in the nuclear industry at the Metals & Controls Division of Texas Instruments.

According to a 2001 U.S. Department of Energy report containing newly declassified information about government contractors that processed uranium for nuclear weapons, Metals & Controls and later Texas Instruments fabricated uranium fuel elements for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program from 1952 through 1965. The plant, was the first non-government facility allowed to fabricate fuel for nuclear reactors.   The company’s nuclear operations were so extensive that the Department of Labor classified the Attleboro site as an “atomic weapons employer.”

Texas Instruments sold the Attleboro manufacturing complex in 2006, but has never tried to contact workers or their surviving family members to inform them that they might be eligible for federal compensation or medical help for their cancer. Texas Instruments claims it has cooperated with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on issues related to cancer claims and has made information available to its former workers.  The workers tell a far different story. From all accounts, Texas Instruments has not even used its personnel records to reach out to former employees or their families. The proof lies with the minute number of employees who have filed claims or received help.

The company began cleanup of uranium contamination in 1981 after nuclear operations ceased and the site’s government license to manufacture nuclear materials lapsed. Decontamination of the plant was completed in 1997 according to the Energy Department and it received a sign-off from federal and state officials, who said the site needed no further remediation.

But former workers, including those who fabricated nuclear fuels and switches, disposed of scrap and performed laboratory testing, still carried in their bodies the effects of exposure to radioactive materials and other substances. While Texas Instruments may have cleaned up its campus former workers, still carried in their bodies the effects of exposure to radioactive materials and other substances.

In addition, some of the waste from the plant – as well as from the local jewelry industry – ended up in the former Shpack landfill on the Norton-Attleboro line. Radioactive waste at the landfill has also allegedly been linked to cancer in lawsuits filed by two residents against Texas Instruments and several other landfill users. The plaintiffs contend they contracted cancer because of the dumping.

The Makepeace Division of Engelhard Industries in Plainville also fabricated nuclear fuel elements from1957 to 1962, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) records.  Manufacturing at Makepeace involved the use of natural, depleted and enriched uranium. That site was decontaminated in 1963.

You may contact Gail Balser for assistance to insure you receive the full compensation you entitled to under the Act by calling (508) 699-2500 Ext 11 or make an appointment by using this link.

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