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Did You Know?

  • There were families living as close as 12 miles to the Trinity test site in 1945 and there were Thousands of families living in a 50 mile radius.

  • The bomb was a plutonium based bomb and it was packed with 13 pounds of weapons grade plutonium but only 3 pounds of the plutonium fissioned.  The remaining 10 pounds of plutonium was joined with the soil, sand, animal and plant life and incinerated.  The resultant fireball exceeded the atmosphere and penetrated the stratosphere traveling more than 7 miles high.

  • The bomb produced more heat and more light than the sun.  Many people who we’ve spoken to that were alive at the time thought they were experiencing the end of the world.

  • Plutonium has a half life of more than 24,000 years.  Once the radioactive ash fell from the sky as fallout it settled on everything on the soil, in the water and on the skin of every living thing both human and animal.  

  • In 1945 most if not all the small villages inside a 50 mile radius of the Trinity Site had no running water.  The water sources at the time were cisterns, holding ponds or ditches.  As a result of the fallout the water sources were contaminated.

  • In 1945 there were no grocery stores in the small villages surrounding the Trinity site.  All the meat, dairy and produce people consumed was either raised, harvested or grown by them.  It too was contaminated.

  • As a result of the overexposure to radiation, there was an increase in infant mortality in the months following the Trinity test in New Mexico. The National average death rate was 38.3 deaths per thousand live births, and the average in New Mexico was 100.8 deaths per thousand, which was the highest in the nation. A paper that addresses this issue, was published by Tucker/Alvarez in 2019, titled Trinity: “The most significant hazard of the entire Manhattan Project”, which you can access here.

  • Since 1990 the US Government has been compensating “Downwinders” who lived adjacent to the Nevada Test Site.   The fund set up to extend compensation and medical care is called the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).  The Downwinders in New Mexico have never been included or compensated although they were the first people to be exposed to radiation any place in the world. New Mexicans were also downwind of the Nevada test site through the summer of 1962, well documented.

  • The fund has paid out more than 2.3 billion dollars in claims and provides much needed health care coverage to some claimants.  The health care coverage portion, if extended to the people of New Mexico, would save lives and reduce the financial burden to patients and families as they travel from their rural communities to receive treatment.

  • The TBDC is fighting for the same compensation that other Downwinders receive, and for the health care coverage to be extended to all Downwinders.   We often say we don’t want one dime more or one dime less than what other Downwinders are receiving and have received for over 30 years.

  • On June 27, 2018, a representative of the TBDC testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about the need to amend the RECA in order to compensate the New Mexico Downwinders. The testimony is available here. The hearing begins at 20 minutes. Tina Cordova, co-founder of TBDC, begins her testimony at 1:02:20.

RECA and Our Cause 

Between 1945 and 1962, 200 atmospheric tests were conducted by the United States. In order to conduct these tests, thousands of uranium miners were employed to provide the necessary elements for the testing. Thousands of people were also affected living downwind of the test sites.  Lawsuits were filed against the United States due to the lack of warning of the hazards associated with radiation exposure. The lawsuits were unsuccessful in providing restitution to the people harmed, so Congress working in a bipartisan fashion to pass a bill that would provide partial restitution to those harmed.

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, also known as RECA, was passed on October 5th, 1990. It provides partial restitution to a very few downwind counties in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. RECA covers pre-1971 uranium miners/workers in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, South Dakota, Washington, Utah, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon, and Texas. It also covers on-site participants. There are eligibility requirements that must be met in order for people to qualify for the restitution provided through RECA.

Downwinders in other states such as New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, Colorado and Guam and the remaining parts of Nevada, Arizona and Utah have been completely left out and have not been considered for restitution. Post-1971 uranium miners/workers have not been included, either.

New Mexico is the site of the first above-ground atomic bomb test, which occurred on July 16, 1945. Since then, New Mexicans have been plagued with illnesses and cancers due to their over-exposure to radiation. The communities that have been impacted the most are rural, and many people can’t afford to pay for the treatments, medications, surgeries, co-pays, hotel stays, gas, and other costs that are involved in treating illness and cancer.

The goal of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC) is to amend RECA so that those that need the assistance will receive it.  New Mexico was the first state to have an atomic test, and the citizens have not been acknowledged, apologized to, or cared for. Far too many people have become ill and are succumbing to their illnesses. How many people have to die before the United States pays attention and makes it right?

On July 27, 2023, the US Senate passed the RECA amendments as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would add the Downwinders of New Mexico and the Post 71 uranium miners/workers to the fund for the first time ever.  In doing so, Senators Ben Ray Lujan (D) New Mexico, Mike Crapo (R) Idaho, and Josh Hawley (R) Missouri were able to work in a bipartisan fashion to pass this nonpartisan bill that will also add the States of Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Guam and all of Nevada, Arizona, and Utah for the first time.  The bill will deliver justice to people who’ve waited as long as 78 years as is the case in New Mexico.

The Senate NDAA and the House NDAA will now go through the reconciliation process.  The House bill does not currently have the RECA amendments included.

It is imperative that everyone across the country reach out to their members of the House Find Your Representative | and ask them to support adding the RECA amendments to the NDAA to mirror what was passed in the Senate. 

We encourage everyone to reach out to:

Senator Lujan at 202-224-6621 Home - Senator Ben Ray Luján ( 

Senator Hawley 202-224-6154 Josh Hawley | United States Senator for Missouri (

Senator Schumer 202-224-6542 

Speaker McCarthy 202-225-4000 Speaker Kevin McCarthy 

Jim Jordan 202-225-2676 

H.R.4426 Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2023

The amendment bill currently has 34 co-sponsors:

Co-sponsor                                                                   Date Cosponsored

Del. Moylan, James C. [R-GU-At Large]                                                     06/30/2023

Rep. Barragan, Nanette Diaz [D-CA-44]                                                    06/30/2023

Rep. Blunt Rochester, Lisa [D-DE-At Large]                                               06/30/2023

Rep. Carson, Andre [D-IN-7]                                                                      06/30/2023

Rep. Chu, Judy [D-CA-28]                                                                          06/30/2023

Rep. Garamendi, John [D-CA-8]                                                                 06/30/2023

Rep. Grijalva, Raúl M. [D-AZ-7]                                                                  06/30/2023

Rep. Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr. [D-GA-4]                                            06/30/2023

Rep. Kilmer, Derek [D-WA-6]                                                                     06/30/2023

Rep. Lee, Barbara [D-CA-12]                                                                     06/30/2023

Rep. Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA-18]                                                                     06/30/2023

Rep. McBath, Lucy [D-GA-7]                                                                      06/30/2023

Rep. Omar, Ilhan [D-MN-5]                                                                        06/30/2023

Rep. Pettersen, Brittany [D-CO-7]                                                             06/30/2023

Rep. Ross, Deborah K. [D-NC-2]                                                                06/30/2023

Rep. Scanlon, Mary Gay [D-PA-5]                                                              06/30/2023

Rep. Smith, Adam [D-WA-9]                                                                      06/30/2023

Rep. Stansbury, Melanie Ann [D-NM-1]                                                     06/30/2023

Rep. Stanton, Greg [D-AZ-4]                                                                     06/30/2023

Rep. Takano, Mark [D-CA-39]                                                                    06/30/2023

Rep. Titus, Dina [D-NV-1]                                                                          06/30/2023

Rep. Tlaib, Rashida [D-MI-12]                                                                    06/30/2023

Rep. Tonko, Paul [D-NY-20]                                                                       06/30/2023

Rep. Weber, Randy K., Sr. [R-TX-14]                                                         06/30/2023

Rep. Williams, Nikema [D-GA-5]                                                               06/30/2023

Rep. Vasquez, Gabe [D-NM-2]                                                                  06/30/2023

Rep. Fulcher, Russ [R-ID-1]                                                                        06/30/2023

Rep. Lieu, Ted [D-CA-36]                                                                           07/13/2023

Rep. Matsui, Doris O. [D-CA-7]                                                                 07/13/2023

Rep. Jayapal, Pramila [D-WA-7]                                                                07/13/2023

Rep. Gooden, Lance [R-TX-5]                                                                    08/01/2023

Rep. Meng, Grace [D-NY-6]                                                                       08/01/2023

Rep. Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3]                                                                08/22/2023

Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN-9]                                                                      08/22/2023

Rep. Gallego, Ruben [D-AZ-3]                                                                   09/14/2023

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