Senate expands Trinity Downwinder compensation

trinity 10 day deposition

Almost 80 years after the first atomic bomb, Trinity, was detonated near an unsuspecting population , health impacts continue and remain largely unrecognized (NYT paywalled) at the national level. While other victims of atomic testing fallout have been compensated, the Trinity Downwinders have not.

“Today’s Senate vote is a step in the right direction toward justice.” Senator Luján, New Mexico, stated in a press release.

On July 27, 2023, the U.S. Senate passed a historic expansion and extension of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), raising the amount of compensation per person and continuing the program an additional 19 years. The measure also includes certain uranium miners and millers who worked in the industry after 1971.

While the original RECA only included those downwind of the Nevada test site, this amendment would expand Downwinder eligibility to Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Radioactive fallout from all above ground continental atomic testing hit 46 states in the U.S.

The RECA amendment still needs to pass the House.

Image: Estimated radiation deposition from Trinity after 10 days; adapted from: Fallout from U.S. atmospheric nuclear tests in New Mexico and Nevada (1945-1962) 


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