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U.S. faulted on nuclear parts plant health threat

KANSAS CITY (Reuters) - Federal workers were kept in the dark about possible health risks from a plant making parts for nuclear weapons next door to their Kansas City offices, according to an inspector general's report released on Monday.

The report faults a division of the General Services Administration for failing to fully investigate and report on environmental hazards at the plant, where parts for nuclear weapons were made for more than 60 years.

GSA employees have complained about illnesses they think may be linked to the National Nuclear Security Administration plant. A wall separated the two facilities.

So far, testing has found no current significant health hazards at the GSA building, the report said.

In all, the GSA has paid workers compensation claims to 75 employees at the facility found to have long-term health conditions, mostly chronic coughing and burning eyes. Another $25 million was paid to employees of the bomb parts plant, some of whom claimed the plant caused their cancers.

Monday's report said the GSA gave wrong or misleading responses to employee questions about environmental conditions, lacked a clear understanding of its responsibilities and failed to document possible health hazards.

(Editing by Andrew Stern and Greg McCune)