Oppenheimer’s bomb: Health impacts continue

Trinity contamination

At some New Mexico Oppenheimer screenings, a 15-second advertisement will precede the movie.

“Oppenheimer’s bomb led to decades of nuclear testing across the Southwest,” it says. “Communities still suffer health impacts related to the tests, many without government recognition or justice.”

The ad is intended to point out that, for those who actually live in what the bomb builders thought was “nowhere”, health impacts continue to this day, including cancers in successive generations. Local people were neither warned about the health impacts from fallout nor the environmental contamination from both the manufacture and testing of atomic weaponry. And those who were in the fallout of the first atomic bomb dropped on America — Trinity — have received no compensation for their suffering.

Created by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the ad is intended to “infuse” the movie showings with acknowledgment that nuclear weapons production and testing have left lingering contamination and continuing health impacts.

Tina Cordova, with Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, said that she “tried to reach the filmmakers to request a notice in the film noting the impact of nuclear weapons production on New Mexicans, to no avail.” Los Alamos National Labs, where the atomic bomb was developed, is 200 miles away from where Trinity was detonated.

Image: Estimated exposure rate in milliroentgens per hour (mR h-1) 12 hours after detonation; GZ = ground zero of Trinity. Source: Centers for Disease Control (2010).

Support Beyond Nuclear

Help to ensure a safer, greener and more just world for all