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The U.S. Justice Department is finally accepting applications for compensation from uranium miners and downwind cancer victims of atomic testing, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Thursday.

That came as the Justice Department told him it would issue regulations Thursday to implement the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act that he and Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, passed through Congress in 1990 to apologize to victims and offer them compensation payments.Details of those regulations were not immediately available from the Justice Department.

"Everyone who has previously contacted my office about the downwinder program will shortly receive a packet of application forms and guidelines from the Justice Department," Hatch said.

He said others may contact his Salt Lake office at 524-4380 or the Justice Department at 1-800-729-7327 to obtain similar information.

Art Kingdom, press secretary for Owens, said residents can also contact Owens' offices for assistance and information.

Hatch said, "The claim forms are not any more difficult to fill out than a 1040-EZ tax form."

He added, "While some people may feel more comfortable being represented by an attorney, they certainly don't have to hire one. I have been assured by officials at the Justice Department that they will treat downwinders who file their own claims just as promptly as someone represented by attorneys."