Radiation Victims Seek Expansion of 32-Year-Old Compensation Act – by Carolyn Campbell (Daily Yonder – October 11, 2022)


Larry King crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair on the stone porch of his ancestral home in Church Rock, New Mexico. The Puerco River, which irrigates ranch land, is just beyond the fence. He breathes heavily, pushing his voice raspy. “I’m 65. I’m one of the younger, aging uranium miners who worked in the uranium mines. My lungs aren’t so good,” he says.

In addition to being a miner, his home borders the site of the largest radioactive spills in U.S history. In July 1979, a dam at the uranium mine broke, releasing over 94 million gallons of toxic waste into the river behind his house and into the fields and water table.

King is a member of Expand RECA (Expand Radiation Exposure Compensation Act), a national coalition working to expand the scope of the initial 1990 RECA bill. According to the Department of Justice, the initial bill provided partial restitution to the individuals who developed serious illnesses after exposure to radiation released during above-ground, atmospheric nuclear tests or following their employment in the uranium industry.

From 1945 through 1962, as part of the Nation’s Cold War security strategy, the United States conducted nearly 200 atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. To support that effort, mining and processing of uranium ore was conducted by thousands of workers. After the war, mining continued into the 1980’s. EPA reports that nearly 30 million tons of uranium were extracted from Navajo land between 1944 and 1986. Today, 500 abandoned, unremediated uranium mines remain on Navajo Nation.

For the rest of this article: https://dailyyonder.com/radiation-victims-seek-expansion-of-32-year-old-compensation-act/2022/10/11/