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Friday, Sep 22, 2023
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.


Scientists, activists urge U.S. Congress to compensate nuclear testing and uranium mining victims

Friday’s open letter was signed by Navajo Nation representatives, Bill Nye the science guy, writers, historians and several others

Scientists, Indigenous groups and activists urge congress to compensate victims of nuclear testing and uranium mining
The United States tests a nuclear weapon in the Marshall Islands in 1952. Photo via the U.S. government

As the movie Oppenheimer makes its debut this week a diverse group of concerned citizens and organizations have issued a letter urging United States Congress to provide more adequate reparations to those negatively impacted by the country’s past nuclear activities.

The letter sent to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on Friday calls on the government to strengthen and extend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), a program established in 1990 to provide monetary compensation to those that developed health problems as a result of atomic weapons testing and uranium mining.

The letter was signed by representatives from the Navajo Nation, the renowned science educator Bill Nye, activists, authors and many other people. Additionally, organizations such as the Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, the National Association of Atomic Veterans, the Union of Concerned Scientists (responsible for coordinating the letter) and several others also signed.

“We represent a diverse coalition of scientists, historians, veterans, impacted communities, tribal nations and peace and security advocates,” reads Friday’s letter.

“U.S. nuclear weapons activities, including uranium mining, weapons production, and atmospheric nuclear testing, exposed many individuals and communities in the United States to radiation and toxic chemicals. These exposed populations are often Indigenous, people of colour, Veterans, low-income, and rural and they often face significant obstacles to receiving adequate health care,” it continued.

Read more: enCore Energy sells New Mexico uranium project to Anfield Energy for $5 million

Read more: British nuclear technology developer MoltexFLEX receives £1.3m grant from U.K. government

The establishment of the RECA was valuable but it failed to recognize many who were impacted by U.S. nuclear tests and uranium mining.

This includes those living downwind from the first-ever atomic test site near Alamogordo, New Mexico (Trinity, 1945), U.S Veterans involved with cleaning up radioactive waste in the Marshall Islands, people who lived downwind from a nuclear test site in Nevada and workers involved with uranium mining after the 1942-1971 period recognized by the act.

The letter urges Congress to extend the benefits of the act to those people, provide them with comprehensive health care benefits and elongate the act, which is set to expire in June next year.

“This year, Congress must strengthen the RECA and extend it to ensure that the thousands of Americans suffering from radiation-related illnesses receive the help they need,” the letter concluded.

Since its inception, the RECA has provided over US$2.5 billion to approximately 39,000 people impacted by U.S. nuclear activity, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Between 1945-2017 over 2,000 nuclear test explosions were conducted around the globe resulting in increased rates of cancer and other diseases, according to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons — an organization that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.


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