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Potential Radiation Exposure Associated with Assignment to Coast Guard (CG) LORAN Stations (LORSTA)

Frequently Asked Questions




  1. What types of transmitters could result in exposure?
    The LORAN AN/FPN-39, -42, -44, AND -45 transmitter components of significant concern were energized high powered vacuum tubes with no shielding between the tube and the service member. These devices typically had applied bias voltages of 21.5 kVp which resulted in the production of low energy x-rays. This x-ray exposure pathway was eliminated with the introduction of solid state transmitter components that replaced the high powered vacuum tubes.

    An individual would have to be engaged in “exceptional” tasks in close proximity to operating equipment and for enough time to receive a dose of significant quantity. Even so, due to the low energy of these x-rays, most would not penetrate deeply. As a result, superficial diseases (e.g. skin cancer and cataracts) are more likely to be associated with exposure than deep cancers (e.g. leukemia’s). The existing radiation illness compensation process takes these considerations into account when determining the probability of a specific disease’s occurrence given the reconstructed dose. Those not working on the equipment are not likely to have had exposure of any significance.

  2. What years of service are at risk?
    The time period of concern ranges from 1942 when the USCG began operating LORSTA Battle Harbor, through 2010 when USCG LORSTA operation ceased – removing this ionizing radiation source.

  3. What LORAN locations could have resulted in exposure?
    Please refer to the LORAN directory to determine if your duty station utilized the technology in question, during the years of service at risk.

  4. Of the total pool of 10,000 who served at LORAN stations, how many were likely involved in maintenance on the vacuum tube transmitters?
    We found the majority of work done at LORAN stations did not subject members to increased risk of illness. It is difficult to estimate over the 68 years that LORAN was in operation, how many people might have been involved in vacuum tube maintenance. The job was fairly common but not under what was referenced in the report as "exceptional operating/maintenance duties," which carried the greater risk for exposure.

  5. How many service members were likely involved in the "exceptional operating/maintenance duties" detailed in scenario 2 of the report?
    A key goal of this report was to identify the specific job a LORAN veteran would have needed to perform to receive an amount of exposure that might cause illness. While difficult to determine the number of people involved in exceptional operating/maintenance duties over the years, they likely would have been senior personnel in specific workforce ratings such as electronics technicians to have had the expertise required to make adjustments to equipment while in operation, Therefore we believe the number is limited. We strongly encourage anyone concerned, to follow up with their doctor and take the necessary steps to identify or address any health concerns.

  6. Is there blood or clinical testing that could show radiation exposure from prior LORSTA duty?
    The short answer is no. DTRA has carefully examined operations around the LORSTA transmitters of concern and has developed a method to "estimate" a probability of radiogenic disease causation based on a veteran's responses on the LORAN Occupational Radiation Exposure Questionnaire.

  7. Are there any LORSTA radiation exposure symptoms that I should be aware of?
    There are no specific symptoms from LORSTA radiation exposure per se. Symptoms are reflective of underlying disease processes. Some of the more common radiogenic diseases include skin cancer and cataracts. Keep in mind though, that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The vast majority of skin cancers are due to UV radiation from sunlight. A very small percentage of skin cancers could be attributed to the type of radiation emitted from LORAN transmitters.

    People with concerns about skin cancer are encouraged to see their primary care provider for further evaluation. Other information regarding skin cancer can be found on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at:

  8. I believe I have symptoms of radiogenic disease. What are my next steps?
    Active duty members should see their cognizant USCG or Tricare designated primary care provider for an evaluation. USCG veterans should be evaluated by their own primary care providers.

  9. Is there a way to calculate how much exposure is “too much”?
    Based on personnel radiation dosimetry monitoring of USCG LORAN service members performed in 1988 and 1994, it appears most personnel’s radiation exposure was minimal, well within federal occupational radiation exposure limits. For the few exceptional individuals who may have received significant radiation exposures, please see section 6.b of the DTRA technical report for illustrative examples of excess radiation exposure.


  1. I’m ready to file. What’s next?
    USCG LORAN veterans and first time filers claiming entitlement to VA disability compensation due to radiogenic disease (resulting from active duty service) should complete a VA Form 21-526, Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension and complete the occupational exposure questionnaire and attach (if available):

      • Discharge or separation papers (DD214 or equivalent)
      • Dependency records (marriage and children’s birth
      • Medical evidence (doctor and hospital reports)

    Documentation can be submitted online or via a local VA Regional Office (VARO). For further assistance call the VA (800) 827-1000.

  2. My claim was previously been denied. Can I appeal?
    Yes. LORAN veterans seeking compensation due to radiogenic disease arising from active duty service may re-file based on new information presented in the DTRA technical report. The veteran should contact the VA regional office in the state where they reside (see, choose state, and look for regional offices) and request that the claim for service connection be reopened. The veteran should cite the DTRA technical report as the basis for the reopened claim, i.e. new and material evidence. An occupational questionnaire (pg. 46 in DTRA-TR-10-26) should be completed and submitted with the request.

  3. My appeal was denied. Should I start a new claim process?
    Yes. A Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision represents the final decision of the agency unless the appellant files an appeal of the Board’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, an independent court, not part of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Claimants may reopen their denied claim to the VA regional office by submitting new evidence in connection with their claim. The new evidence must be material to the claim.

  4. I currently show no symptoms of exposure but should I notify VA to begin tracking potential exposure?
    You should discuss your exposure concerns with your health care provider. If necessary, he or she can consult with an environmental health clinician or the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC) program within the VA. VA medical centers can be located by visiting There is also a toll free number for special issues including ionizing radiation at 1-800-749-8387.

  5. My spouse’s death may have been a result of exposure. What are my next steps?
    Surviving spouses of a deceased USCG LORAN veteran wishing to submit a dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) claim should complete a VA Form 21-534 for an original claim. If an original claim has been filed in the past and denied, the surviving spouse can reopen the claim, submitting new evidence found in the DTRA technical report, DTRA-TR-10-26.

  6. Do I need to be enrolled into OMSEP for prior duty at LORSTA?
    Active duty members with prior duty at LORSTA will not be enrolled into the Occupational Medicinal Surveillance and Evaluation Program (OMSEP). In general, OMSEP surveillance ends when a member is permanently removed from the hazardous exposure duties in question. In this case the exposure of concern, ionizing radiation caused by older LORAN transmitters, no longer exists. Members are encouraged to report any changes in health status or any other health concerns during their annual Periodic Health Assessment (PHA) and on their eventual separation/retirement physical examinations.

  7. When/If I retire, will risk tracking be transferred over to VA care?
    You should discuss your exposure concerns with your health care provider. He or she can consult with an environmental health clinician or the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC) program within the VA. Special VA medical centers can be located visiting There is also a toll free number for special issues including ionizing radiation, 1-800-749-8387.


  1. My work as a federal employee at a LORAN station may have put me at risk. Am I entitled to health benefits?
    All Federal full time and part time employees are eligible to join the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program. Employees have 60 days from the date of hire to enroll into a health plan. If the employee does not enroll during the first 60 days of employment he or she will have to wait until open season to enroll. Employees should contact their Command Staff Advisor for more details.

    If an employee leaves Federal Service, he or she may be eligible for Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. TCC is a feature of the FEHB Program that allows certain people to temporarily continue their FEHB coverage after regular coverage ends.

    TCC enrollees must pay the full premium for the plan they select (that is, both the employee and Government shares of the premium) plus a 2 percent administrative charge. Employees should contact their Command Staff Advisor for more information or visit

  2. I believe I may suffer from an illness as a result of my work at a LORAN station. Will the CG pay for my medical expenses?
    A civilian employee who has a disease which he or she believes to be work-related should file a claim for workers’ compensation using Form CA-2, “Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation". The form should be filed within 30 days of the date the employee realized the disease or illness was caused or aggravated by the employment. Refer to COMDTINST M12810.2.


Related Links



TECHNICAL REPORT - Personnel Radiation Exposure Associated with X-Rays Emanating from U.S. Coast Guard LORAN High Voltage Vacuum Tube Transmitter Units


Report Summary for LORAN Community

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Last Modified 12/5/2011