SALT LAKE CITY — Staff from the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will be in southern Utah collecting oral histories about the impact of nuclear testing on individuals and their families.
The interviews will be included in the Downwinders of Utah Archive, which provides historical data on the nuclear testing that occurred at the Nevada Test Site and the fallout that resulted.
Library representatives will be at the Washington County Library, 88 W. 100 South, St. George on Monday, June 12, from 1 to 7 p.m.; the Cedar City Public Library, 303 N. 100 East, on Tuesday, June 13, from 1 to 7 p.m.; and the Kanab City Library, 374 N. Main, on Wednesday, June 14, from 1 to 7 p.m.
“It is critical that the stories of the downwinders be recorded and preserved,” Mary Dickson, downwinder, playwright and advocate, said in a statement. “Not only are these stories a valuable record of a shameful chapter of our shared past, they also serve as a reminder and a warning that we all live downwind. Without this important archive, our stories die with us."
Beginning in 1951, a variety of nuclear weapons were tested in a remote area of the Nevada desert known as the Nevada Test Site in the name of national security. Fallout and radiation from these tests have 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.
“The archive focuses on individuals, families and geographic areas that were negatively affected,” Justin Sorensen, a geographic information systems specialist at the Marriott Library and creator of the archive, said in a statement. “Our hope is that the archive illustrates the events and impacts in greater detail, while educating future generations in the hope that the mistakes of the past will never occur again.”