SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will unveil the new Downwinders of Utah archive on Monday. The interactive, geospatial archive depicts the story of Utah radioactive fallout related to atmospheric nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site.
Former Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, an advocate for downwinders, will speak at the launch event at 10 a.m., in the Gould Auditorium. He will be joined by advocate and playwright Mary Dickson, whose 2007 play “Exposed” chronicles the effects the tests had on the downwind population.
There will also be a screening of the film “Downwinders” in the auditorium at 6 p.m., followed by panel discussion with filmmaker Tim Skousen.
Beginning in 1951, the era of nuclear weapons testing was a time of tremendous change at both national and local levels. In the name of national security, a variety of nuclear weapons were tested in a remote area of the Nevada desert. Fallout and radiation from these tests affected communities across the nation, in many cases resulting in the loss of property, health and life.
The Downwinders of Utah Archive presents an in-depth study of nuclear detonations, radioactive fallout and events that resulted in devastating effects for Utah’s downwinder population.
Through the archive, a variety of materials are presented, including fallout maps and statistics related to Iodine-131 exposures for all Utah counties; historic photographs and videos of nuclear detonations; newspaper articles and documentation chronologically depicting the impacts and deceptions imparted to residents; and a collection of oral history interviews from some of Utah’s surviving downwinders.