HEAL has engaged in several campaigns to protect Utahns from nuclear threats, including efforts to support downwinders — and to pass a permanent ban on nuclear weapons testing, aka the CTBT.
Between 1951 and 1992, 925 nuclear weapons tests were conducted at the Nevada Test Site, including 100 above-ground tests. Utahns, and millions of other Americans, were never told the fallout was dangerous to their health, or instructed to seek shelter as the radioactive clouds rained fallout over their homes, gardens and pastures.
For decades the federal government denied any responsibility for the deaths and illnesses that ravaged Utah’s communities. It wasn’t until 1990 that Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. Pushed by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and the late Congressman Wayne Owens (D-UT), RECA promises to give $50,000 to each person who developed specific types of radiation related cancer attributed to fallout and who lived in one of a handful of counties in Utah, Nevada, or Arizona. Ironically — and sadly — many counties in Utah received more fallout than those included in the RECA program, but because they were not listed in the Act, those Utahns are not eligible for compensation.
RECA claim forms for downwinders can be found here.
To listen to HEAL’s interviews with Utah downwinders click here.
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
HEAL Utah has long worked to ensure that the U.S. never again tests nuclear weapons by supporting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The CTBT is a global treaty that would ban all explosive nuclear weapons tests in the United States and throughout the world. The treaty has been ratified by 163 nations but will not go into effect until a small handful of hold out nations ratify the treaty: the United States, Iran, North Korea, India, Pakistan, Egypt, China, and Israel.
Though the United States signed the treaty in 1996, it has yet to be ratified by the U.S Senate. Ratifying the treaty requires a favorable vote by a supermajority of the U.S. Senate (67 votes). HEAL has an ongoing campaign to educate and organize public support for ratification of the CTBT, which would forever put an end to the menace of nuclear weapons testing.
For more information or to get involved please contact HEAL’s Rob DeBirk.
Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller lecture at Westminster College sponsored by HEAL Utah and the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy