People Downwind Of 1st Atomic Blast Renew Push For U.S. Payout
NEW MEXICO – A news report published on kunm.org states that the Navajo Nation and New Mexico residents who live downwind from the site of the world’s first atomic test have resumed their fight for both recognition and compensation from the federal government. The residents have stated that nuclear testing and uranium mining conducted during the Cold War has resulted in adverse health effects that have spanned many generations.
A congressional subcommittee recently held a hearing to determine who would be eligible to receive compensation under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. Navajo President Jonathan Nez, an official from Mohave County, Arizona, was expected to testify before the subcommittee. Mr. Nez is also a nuclear weapons expert.
According to the news report, several groups and residents have been pressing lawmakers to extend the compensation program for several years, and advocates state this latest push is urgent due to the act expiring next year.
Communities located downwind from the first atomic test site on July 16, 1945, are demanding monetary compensation to cover the health effects that have spanned generations because of the nuclear fallout from the blast. According to the residents, their communities have been plagued by congenital disabilities, birth defects, cancer, and stillbirths.
In addition, Native Americans worked in uranium mines that supplied the raw materials for use in the nation’s nuclear weapons program.
Last year’s multibillion-dollar defense spending package included an apology to the residents of Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and other states affected by nuclear testing radiation. However, no legislative action was taken to modify, extend, or broaden the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act’s compensation program.
The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act’s compensation program covers workers who grew ill due to the radiation hazards of their jobs and to residents living downwind of the Nevada Test Site. The Nevada Test Site, where several hundred nuclear explosive tests spanning 40 years, was conducted.
Last fall, the National Cancer Institute published several scientific papers on radiation doses and cancer risks that were a result of the Trinity Test. The study states that some people presumably got cancer from the radioactive fallout.
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