From 1945 to 1962, the United States government conducted hundreds of atmospheric nuclear weapons tests on American soil. Uranium mining and processing began in many areas, especially in the Western states, to develop nuclear weapons. As a result, countless individuals living near nuclear test sites, including workers in uranium mining and processing and military service members, were exposed to deadly radiation.
The Radiation Exposure and Compensation Act (RECA) provides compensation to approved individuals that have illnesses that are likely caused by such radiation exposure. However, RECA is small in scope compared to the actual number of people who were likely impacted by nuclear weapons in the U.S.
Senate and House amendments S.2798 / H.R.5338 would extend RECA beyond 2022 and expand coverage to communities exposed to radiation that have so far been excluded. Without action, RECA will expire in July of 2022.
This is an issue of environmental and racial justice: nuclear weapons activities have disproportionately contaminated the environment and threatened the health of Indigenous communities, communities of color, and poor, rural communities. Unsuspecting residents downwind of the Nevada test site, such as those in Northern Utah, Idaho, Montana, and New Mexico, and uranium workers after 1971 have never received compensation for the health consequences they continue to endure.
Unless Congress acts immediately, the RECA program will expire in July 2022. We need your help to ensure justice is achieved for the individuals who continue to suffer from U.S. nuclear weapons development and testing. Join us and tell your elected officials to co-sponsor RECA and ensure that those who were harmed by the development of our nuclear weapons system receive the compensation they deserve.