There is no doubt that the US government is killing and disgusted many of his own people passed explosive nuclear testing: estimated death toll in the United States from a nuclear test varies greatly, from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. But the downsides don’t stop there. Other nuclear weapons activities, such as uranium mining, production, and waste storage and cleaning, have also caused unknown deaths and illnesses. As is often the case, the people who bear the brunt of this activity are often people of color, indigenous peoples, women and children, and those who live on poor rural communities. These people were victims of the Cold War and the US’s largely overlooked and often forgotten nuclear weapons program.
In 2011, the Senate voted unanimously for designates January 27th as “a national day of remembrance for Americans who, during the Cold War, worked and lived downwind from a nuclear test site and were adversely affected by exposure to radiation generated by above-ground nuclear weapons testing”. It’s long moredue date: between 1945 and 1992tHe the United States conducted more than 1,000 nuclear weapons tests, and 216 of them are above the ground or under water. This test spreads the radioactive impact across the country.
The science behind the breakdown of nuclear weapons
Scientific studies on the impact of these activities are generally too few and too late. For the most part, the government neglected to monitor radiation adequately downfall and exposure on the teame. When the data is there, or when concerns of danger arise, it happens a lot actively downtrodden by the government out of fear responsibility, and that it will shed a negative light on the development of nuclear weapons. All tThis means that once research has been tried, decades later, it is very difficult to get accurate data on exposure and health outcomes. But still, files research and study it pain availablet a clear picture of the danger. As an example:
- In 1950, before testing began in Nevada Test Site, government officials meet to discuss anticipated security concerns, and recognized that people who are downwind tests are likely to be exposed to more radiation than is considered medically safe. men 1984 federal court ruled that WE the government is negligent in supervising exposure and protect them downwind.
- A 1997 study from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimate that testing at the Nevada Test Site can cause between 11,000 and 212,000 cases of thyroid cancer. Keep in mind that this study only looked at thyroid cancer caused by Iodine 131 (I-131), not in other diseases known to be caused by I-131 or other radinactive contaminants.
- A lesson completed in 2020 shows that [1945[1945The New Mexico Trinity Test (the first ever completed nuclear weapons test) alone is likely to cause up to 1,000 cases of cancer. A research recently also showed a sharp spike in infant mortality associated with the test.
- Studies since 1930’s has shown a clear link between cancer and others turn off disease from exposure on radon and metals and other hazardous chemicals found in uranium mines and factories. In 1960’s, many the specific study of US uranium miners clearly demonstrated increased illness and death associated with chronic radiation exposure.
- At 1980, A Centers for Disease Control study Health veterans involved in atmospheric testing showed significantly higher rates of leukemia compared to other servicesmbers.
- There are countless studies linking radiation exposure to cancer and other diseases, including a age studies about survivors of the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Outside of existing science, every community is involved in nuclear weapons industrial complex can share story after story after story crackdown disease, the whole family devastated band cancer, and “Death Miles” – the streets or the environment lined with cancer cases and deaths. Over the years these communities, without proper study and support from the government, have carried out community health studies and compiled lists of their missing loved ones.
In view of these tremendous losses, the US government has an obligation to do more than just acknowledge them. They need to offer compensation and health care to the community for the cancer and other diseases they continue to suffer from. One way to do this is through Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, or RECA.
What is the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act?
RECA is a federal The program provides compensation at once to individuals with disease caused by nuclear weapons activities. Individuals from three groups can apply:
- Uranium miners, mills, and ore carriers who worked in the uranium industry from 1942 to 1971 are entitled to $ 100,000.
- “Participants at the atmospheric nuclear weapons test site” (these could be military servicemen or civilian contractors employed at US nuclear weapons test sites) qualify for $ 75,000.
- Downwinders (individuals living downwind of the Nevada Test Site) qualifies for $ 50,000.
RECA also provides funds to local health centers and non-profit organizations to conduct cancer screening and support individuals in filing RECA claims. Anyone applying must have certain compensatory illnesses and have worked or lived in the specified location for a specified period of time.
RECA was founded in 1990 and slightly expanded in 1992 and 2000. By January 2021, RECA had paid approximately $ 2.44 billion to 37.757 individual. This is a small drop A a very large bucket nuclear spending. By comparison, Stephen Schwartz, author Atomic Audit, have estimate that US has spent at least $ 1.2 trillion in its nuclear arsenal and related programs since 1990.
Expanding and expanding RECA
RECA is a valuable program, and its enforcement is a major step towards justice for those who have been injured. But still has a major drawback. Many communities are very open still excluded from RECA. The amount of compensation has not changed over the past 30 years despite inflation, and even in 1990 it did not go very far towards cover health care costs for cancer treatment. Perhaps most significantly, RECA will end in July 2022. This cannot be allowed to happen. Because of this primary concern, affected community members have urge them congressman to introducede legislation to expand and expand RECA.
The most expansive bill (HR 3783) introduced in 2019 at the DPR. Here is main that way Constitution will improve the program:
- Extend RECA to 2045.
- Expanded the downwinder eligibility area to include Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Guam, and Colorado, which receive high levels of radiation, and expanded coverage in the downwinder states Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.
- Extending uranium worker eligibility to including:
- Those who work in the uranium industry from 1971 tHI 1990. Currently, tHouseholds of uranium workers who worked in mining after 1971 were excluded from applying for compensation.
- Uranium core drillers and those involved in remediation of uranium mines or plants.
- Aadditional compensatory illness
- Extend eligibility to participants was involved in a clean-up mission on Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands from 1977-1981.
- Increase the lump sum compensation to $ 150,000 for all claimants, and allow people who previously received RECA compensation in the past to receive the full $ 150,000.
- Allow those exposed to atmospheric testing to receive the same medical benefits that are available Energy Department Worker who qualify for protection under the Energy Employee Work Disease Compensation Program Act.
RECA’s improvements have passed several decades. That NCI studies reveal I-131 exposures in states such as Idaho and Montana were released 23 years ago, after being actively suppressed by the government for 5 years. The National Academies of Science report recommending Guam for inclusion in RECA was released 15 years ago. Communities like TRinity Test Downwinders and Post-71 Uranium Workers have struggled to be included in RECA for nearly 15 years. Over the years, many have done it suffer and died waiting for compensation. Survivors often feel that the government is just waiting for their deaths so that they don’t have to take responsibility for the harm they have caused.
Support frontline communities
The day of recognition is important – these communities deserve to be recognized for the unimaginable sacrifices they unwittingly made for their country. But that’s not enough. The best and most important way to honor the victims of the US nuclear weapons program is to compensate them and provide health care for the illnesses and deaths they suffer. You can help: tell your members from Congress that they should expand and expand RECA and in so doing, take steps to provide fair care and compensation to all communities harmed by nuclear weapons activity.
There are many excellent grassroots advocacy groups that have been leading this work for many years. We encourage you to learn more about their important work and support them:
Support from UCS members makes this kind of work possible. Would you like to join us? Help UCS advance independent science for a healthier environment and a safer world.
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