RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) – The federal government says a new law in Washington state puts taxpayers on the hook for common illnesses among workers at a former nuclear weapons production site.

The new law makes it easier for Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers to get state worker compensation.

But the U.S. Department of Justice argued in court documents that the new law covers Hanford workers very differently than other workers in the state and at a greater cost.

The Tri-City Herald reported the new law applies to about 100,000 past and current workers at Hanford, plus future workers.

The documents contend that sickness claims would be difficult to prove as unlikely to have been caused by working at Hanford, and many claims would easily cost the federal government $1 million each.

Information from: Tri-City Herald,

More about: