Congress finds that employees who worked in Department of Energy test sites and later contracted chronic silicosis should also be considered for inclusion in the compensation program. Recognizing that chronic silicosis resulting from exposure to silica is not a condition unique to the nuclear weapons industry, it is not the intent of Congress with this subchapter to establish a precedent on the question of chronic silicosis as a compensable occupational disease. Consequently, it is the sense of Congress that a further determination by the President is appropriate before these workers are included in the compensation program.
A covered employee with chronic silicosis shall be treated as a covered employee (as defined in section 7384l(1) of this title) for the purposes of the compensation program required by section 7384d of this title unless the President submits to Congress not later than 180 days after October 30, 2000, the certification of the President that there is insufficient basis to include such employees. The President shall submit with the certification any recommendations about the compensation program with respect to covered employees with chronic silicosis as the President considers appropriate.
A covered employee shall, in the absence of substantial evidence to the contrary, be determined to have been exposed to silica in the performance of duty for the purposes of the compensation program if, and only if, the employee was present for a number of work days aggregating at least 250 work days during the mining of tunnels at a Department of Energy facility located in Nevada or Alaska for tests or experiments related to an atomic weapon.