New Bill Seeks Justice for U.S. Communities Harmed by Radiation Exposure at the hands of the U.S. Government May 25, 2023
On May 18, Senator Ben Ray Lujan introduced the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2023, a reintroduction of a bill from 2021 that seeks to extend and expand a program that compensates victims of nuclear weapons development and testing.
Since the dawn of the nuclear age, thousands of Americans have died or been harmed by U.S. nuclear weapons– disproportionately affecting poor, rural, Black, Indigenous, and people of color. From workers who mined and milled uranium without proper protective gear, to American citizens caught downwind of hundreds of nuclear tests and exposed to dangerous radiation without their consent, these weapons cause irreparable damage at every stage of production, maintenance and use.
The RECA Amendments of 2023 (S.1751) would extend RECA for an additional 19 years and expand eligibility for communities harmed by radiation exposure across New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Guam, Utah, Nevada and Arizona. Expanding coverage and support is vital to remediate the harms inflicted upon unknowing Americans for decades– harms that continue today. Extending and expanding RECA could change the lives of people in these communities by providing them the access to the medical care they so desperately need.
For over 70 years now, downwinders, uranium workers, atomic veterans, and more have been fighting to receive full spectrum justice for the harms they have had to endure at the hands of the U.S. government. Families and communities have been plagued by rare cancers and other health consequences for decades while being offered little to no assistance to address their illnesses. It’s past time the U.S. government atone for its actions and provide robust support to its own citizens who have suffered for far too long.
If you want to learn more about RECA and the communities impacted by the legacy of U.S. nuclear testing and weapons development, head over to www.expandreca.org to learn more about the bill and read stories from survivors of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex fighting for justice.