Citizens Call, a Utah group, and the Institute for Policy Studies, announced Friday the formation of a group to investigate the radioactive fallout from atomic bomb tests in Nevada in the 1950s and '60s.
Janet Gordon, of St. George, director of Citizens Call, said the Paul Jacobs Citizen Investigative Commission is named for a reporter who investigated the tests in the 1950s and died of cancer in 1978.Gordon said acknowledgment that the government was at fault would mean as much to fallout victims as the money they have been unable to win from the federal government.
The climate in Washington has begun to change with revelations of exposure at several government nuclear plants, said Gordon.
The group supports legislation about to be re-introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, to compensate victims of radiation from fallout or uranium mining.
Citizens Call began a vigil on the Capitol steps after the announcement to memorialize the deaths of Jacobs, Dr. Dorothy Legeretta, who founded a radiation survivors group and died in an auto accident last November, and Dr. Carl Johnson, a public health physician who died in December after heart surgery.
Gordon, who lost a brother to cancer in southern Utah, said "Americans ought to know that our nuclear production and testing activities has left a trail of radiation victims who have paid the high but rarely recognized human costs of the nuclear-arms race."