Des Moines Register 09-13-06 U.S. OKs compensation for nuclear workers Dateline Iowa REGISTER STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES AMES — Federal officials have jumped the final hurdle in a plan to speed government compensation to former nuclear weapons workers at the Ames Laboratory, officials said. Michael Leavitt, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently approved recommendations that people who worked at the lab for at least 250 days between 1942 and 1954 and who have one of 22 types of cancer be eligible to receive automatic compensation. "After 30 or 31 days, it should become law," said Laurence Fuortes, a University of Iowa professor of occupational health who coordinates health screenings for the U.S. Labor Department. Under legislation approved by Congress, people found to have been made ill by their work with nuclear-weapon components are to receive $150,000 and medical care. About 1,000 people worked at the lab from 1942 to 1954, but it is unknown how many may have cancer, Fuortes said. The Ames Laboratory played a key role in the Manhattan Project, the top-secret endeavor during World War II that led to the creation of the first atomic bomb.