Fund for Nuclear Waste Exposure Victims in Limbo as Congress Balks at Cost

December 9, 2023 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography

 The New York Times, Dec. 8, 2023:  “The members that worked on this policy once upon a time, they left out states like New Mexico — and not just the entire state,” Mr. Luján, who has pushed to expand eligibility to individuals in most western states, said in an interview. “They left out the entire county where the first bomb was tested. That alone shows the people have been left out.”

color photograph of residents from Navajo communities, some with protest signs,  gathering on Uranium Remembrance Day, Church Rock, NM July 16, 2016

Nina Berman: Residents from Navajo communities gather on Uranium Remembrance Day, Church Rock, NM July 16, 2016

The biggest nuclear catastrophe in US history occurred July 16, 1979 when the dam at the United Nuclear Corporation's Church Rock uranium mill tailings disposal pond broke sending over 1,000 tons of solid radioactive mill waste and 93 million gallons of acidic, radioactive tailings solution into the Puerco River and contaminating Navajo land. The clean up is still on going. Mining was stopped on Navajo land but there are now calls to revive it. For the past few years, residents of the Church rock community march to the site to honor all those who died and were sickened by uranium mining and to demand a thorough clean up and compensation. This year, residents acknowledged the significant of July 16 as not only the day of the uranium spill, but also the day of the Trinity test, July 16, 1945, and expressed solidarity – through a sharing and reading of letters, with New Mexico residents impacted by the first nuclear test.

Tags: Atomic test downwinders nuclear waste Uranium