Utah leaders honor victims of Nevada nuclear testing

Published: Friday, Jan. 27 2012 10:00 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — People exposed to radiation because of nuclear weapons testing in Nevada were honored Friday with a ceremony at the Utah State Capitol.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah says the testing that began in the 1950s led to cancer and other illnesses for people who lived downwind from the test site.

Matheson has been a longtime advocate of "downwinders," many of whom lived in Utah.

Matheson joined state officials at a ceremony Friday commemorating the 61st anniversary of the first nuclear bomb test in Nevada.

Republican state Rep. Mike Noel of Kanab says the issue of compensating downwinders for their illnesses isn't a partisan one. Noel says a strong national defense should never come at the expense of American citizens.

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