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Front Page » May 25, 2004 » Opinion » could nuclear testing in Nevada happen again?
Published 3,860 days ago

could nuclear testing in Nevada happen again?


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate community editor

When I was a little kid I remember how I envied those that could stand on mesas above St. George and watch the nuclear tests go up in the far off desert north of Las Vegas. Living in Salt Lake, we didn't get to see such interesting stuff. At the time I thought it would have been so cool to see the glow.

But not many years later, when I had not only lost my naivety, but the nation had also forsaken it's innocence as well, we all learned how much wool had been pulled over our eyes as to what was going on when those tests were conducted. The government wasn't only testing to see how powerful the bombs were, they were also testing to see how it would affect the downwinders. And it had a devastating effect. Disease and deformity followed, and since not many generations have passed since the tests who knows what else may result.

It hasn't been that many years since the federal government paid out money to those that survived the mess. What they paid was not near enough to compensate for the lives that were ended early or messed up, and they didn't admit guilt, but it was a step in the right direction.

Now, there is a sitting congress that must have forgotten how the nuclear pale can affect so many people. That legislative body is getting close to approving funds for nuclear "bunker buster" bombs that the present administration feels it needs to fight the war on terror. It would be a "weapons of mass destruction" stretch of the imagination that someone wouldn't want to test those weapons before they were deployed. My guess, along with everyone else who is worried about this, would be that any kind of testing would once again occur in the Nevada desert. But I could care less where the testing occurs, because someone, some innocent individuals would pay the price.

It appears to me the terror isn't in the hands of some radical militant hiding in a cave, but in the hands of officials whom we the people have elected. This includes most of our own congressional delegation. Only Congressman Jim Matheson has voiced opposition to a program that would probably again expose Utahns to the unpredictable effects of radioactive fallout. The other congressmen from Utah and our two Senators have been silent about the situation, probably just going along with what the White House wants.

Not long ago I received a letter from a woman who lives in Washington state, who was married to a man from East Carbon. He had grown up there in the 1950's and 60's and a few years ago contracted cancer. The disease was not hidden in his case, as it is with so many other victims of this hideous disease. It manifested itself in his head, growing out of his skull. She sent me photos. He maintained, before he died that the southerly winds from the Nevada test sites had been the cause. I know of no one in this area that received compensation in the downwinders case, but based on the fact that the southern winds prevail here, and that most of our biggest storms come from the south, I have a hard time discounting his claim. If nuclear tests were to resume north of Las Vegas, who is to say that the contaminants could not come home to roost in Carbon County and everywhere in between?

Any money expended on such a program is more than a waste. It is, instead, part of the continuing lie we are being fed about our security being more important than our rights.


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May 25, 2004
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