What is the Compensation Scheme for Radiation Linked Diseases (CSRLD)?

In the late 1970s, an increase in the number of legal cases involving cancer caused by occupational radiation exposure led British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) to set up the Compensation Scheme for Radiation-Linked Diseases (CSRLD).

Background to the CSRLD

Prior to the 1970s, cases of occupational radiation exposure were not widespread, and the risks of radiation exposure were not widely known. In the late 1970s however, a number of BNFL staff died due to cancer caused as a result of occupational radiation exposure. There were a number of lengthy court cases surrounding the deaths, which were supported by the claimants' trade unions.

In the aftermath of the cases, both BNFL and the unions recognised that the lengthy cases (some of which were ongoing for more than five years) were stressful for the families of the claimants, and extremely expensive for both sides in terms of legal costs and expert advice.

Why was the CSRLD set up?

Following the cases, it was recognised by both sides that the causation of cancer by radiation was now well-understood. As such, a scheme was devised to evaluate the probability that a diagnosed cancer may have been caused by radiation exposure in the workplace.

The scheme was devised as an alternative to the normal legal process, in order to make claiming for occupational radiation exposure:

  • Quicker
  • More generous to the claimant
  • Cheaper than the normal legal process.

Establishing the Compensation Scheme for Radiation-Linked Diseases

The CSRLD was established in November 1982 as a joint agreement between BNFL and its trades' unions. At first the Scheme only accepted mortality claims, where the subject had died from a radiation-linked disease. However, this was revised in 1987 to allow morbidity claims.

Due to the success of the Scheme, it has since expanded to include other nuclear employers and their trade unions.

Making a claim through the CSRLD

In order to make a claim through the CSRLD, you must meet the Scheme's eligibility criteria. These are as follows:

  1. You must have been employed by one or more of the Scheme employers, or their predecessor companies.
  2. You must have had an occupational radiation dose with one or more of the Scheme employers.
  3. You must be (or have been at the time of your relevant employment) a member of one of the Schemes trades' unions (this does not apply if you were employed by the MOD or served in HM Forces
  4. You must have been diagnosed with a disease associated with radiation exposure (known as an eligible disease). If the claim relates to a family member who has died due to an eligible disease, the claim will be considered if an earlier diagnosis was made or if it was listed as a cause of on the Death Certificate.

A solicitor will be able to assist with any questions you may have if you are considering making a claim under the scheme.

A lawyer will also be able to advise whether this route or the more formal legal process is the best option under your circumstances.

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