Seventy years ago, the U.S. Government began a series of above-ground atomic and nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) about 60 miles northwest of Las Vegas. From 1951 until 1962, at least 100 devices were detonated into the atmosphere at the facility. The blasts were visible to residents of many parts of southern Utah and westerly winds frequently brought the fallout from the tests into Utah communities, while radiation from the blasts was carried much farther afield. As a result of exposure to radioactive fallout, nearby communities like St. George saw significant increases in cancers including leukemia, lymphoma, thyroid cancer, breast cancer, bone cancer and other forms of the illness. But the impacts were by no means limited to the counties adjacent to the test site, as prevailing winds and the jet stream carried radioactive fallout across much of the United States.
Today on “In the Hive,” we hear about the legacy of the nuclear testing from a longtime advocate for downwinders. And we hear about the push to renew the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, which has tried to give some measure of relief to the innocent victims of America’s Cold War nuclear program.
Mary Dickson, downwinder advocate, journalist and playwright
Downwind Upshot-Knothole, a Mojave Project dispatch
S.2798 — text of the Senate bill to expand RECA
H.R.5338 — text of the House bill to expand RECA
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