Five dose reconstruction projects focusing on historical public exposures from U.S. government nuclear facilities have been completed in the last 12 y (Fernald, Hanford, Nevada Test Site, Oak Ridge, Rocky Flats). Using information available in published reports, doses and excess health risks of the most serious contaminants in each study are compared for representative maximally and typically exposed individuals. For both the representative maximally exposed individual and the representative typically exposed individual, the highest excess risks of cancer incidence were from 131I released from Hanford, Nevada Test Site, and Oak Ridge and 222Rn released from Fernald (with central estimates for maximally exposed individuals approaching or exceeding 10(-2)); the lowest risks for both maximally and typically exposed individuals were from 239/240Pu and carbon tetrachloride released from Rocky Flats. Excess health risks to the representative maximally exposed individual were at or below 10(-40 for releases from Rocky Flats. For representative typically exposed individuals, the excess risks from releases of mixed radionuclides in the Clinch River (Oak Ridge), PCBs in East Fork Poplar Creek (Oak Ridge), and both plutonium and carbon tetrachloride released from Rocky Flats were mostly below 10(-5).