International Meeting 2005 World Conference against A & H Bombs
Dennis Nelson Support and Education for Radiation Victims (SERV) U.S.A.
The View from Downwind: Justice for the Victims? A Commentary
For almost 30 years the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) conducted atomic tests in the continental United States (US) with an absolute assurance of safety. Workers, military personnel and the civilian populations near the Nevada Test Site (NTS) were exposed to radioactive fallout from the bomb tests but were told emphatically that “there is no danger.” Sometimes this assurance was couched in the phrase “there is no ‘immediate’ danger.” Except for a few skeptics, such as my aunt Irma Thomas in St George, UT, these assurances were accepted at face value by the trusting residents of the downwind communities. Although there had been isolated incidents of skin burns and patchy hair loss experienced by downwind individuals after episodes of fallout, it was not until several years had passed that the first major indications of harm appeared. These were manifest by an early excess of leukemia and lymphoma in this population, and later on by an increased incidence of thyroid and other cancers.