Downwinder Interviews

Since HEAL’s inception we’ve been working on issues relating to nuclear weapons testing and the downwind populations that were affected by testing at the Nevada Test Site. Sadly, over the past decade we came to realize that we were losing many of those downwinders who we had worked arm-in-arm with to stop testing and expand RECA compensation. Along with the painful personal loss experienced in the passing of these dear friends and allies, HEAL recognized that in the passing of these downwinders future generations would be deprived of their stories, experiences, and of the knowledge that comes from learning of the human costs exacted by our nation’s headlong rush into the nuclear age.

Partnering with the Utah Humanities Council, HEAL worked to gather and preserve some of the stories of Utah’s downwinders. HEAL’s staff member Rob DeBirk conducted and transcribed a dozen interviews. The transcripts and audio recordings are now housed with the Utah State Historical Society. Following the project’s completion, HEAL worked with local radio station KRCL and producer Troy Williams to edit some of the interviews into short segments for broadcast. Those interviews edited for KRCL’s RadioActive program can be found below.

Many thanks to the individuals who allowed us to share their stories and those of their families. Thanks also to the Utah Humanities Council, KRCL, and Troy Williams for their support.

RadioActive interview with Claudia Peterson

RadioActive interview with Janet Gordon

RadioActive interviews with Mary Dickson and Robert DeBirk

RadioActive interview with Darlene Phillips

RadioActive interview with Chuck Hoepfner and Darlene Larsen

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