WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced Senate passage of a bipartisan resolution authored by Udall and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and cosponsored by Heinrich, designating Oct. 30, 2017, as the ninth National Day of Remembrance to honor the contributions of thousands of New Mexicans and Americans who helped develop, support, and maintain the nation’s nuclear weapons efforts during the Cold War.
“Thousands of scientists, maintenance workers, miners, millers and support staff in New Mexico and across the country quietly devoted their lives and sacrificed their health in service of our national defense during the Cold War era,” Udall said. “This resolution honors the men and women throughout New Mexico and the nation who worked tirelessly, many of whom unknowingly jeopardized their own well-being to develop and support our nuclear deterrent. These individuals are patriots, and we must continue to work to ensure that Manhattan Project and Cold War veterans -- as well as those affected by nuclear weapons testing -- receive the care and compensation they deserve. As we recognize their service, we must also acknowledge the many New Mexicans and Americans throughout the West who were sickened by radiation exposure downwind of nuclear weapons testing sites. Too many of these individuals remain uncompensated for their hardship, and I continue to fight for justice for these victims.”
“New Mexico has a long and storied history of contributing to our national security and energy needs, including communities that were essential to the mining and processing of uranium during the Cold War,” said Heinrich. “I’m proud to cosponsor this resolution that honors the incredible contributions of workers in New Mexico and across the country who quietly sacrificed to keep us safe. I will continue to fight to make good on our responsibility to compensate them so that they can receive the care, medical assistance, and justice they deserve.”
Udall and Heinrich have also introduced bipartisan legislation to expand restitution for New Mexicans and others who have been affected by exposure to radiation during the development and testing of nuclear weapons in the Cold War by seeking amendments to the the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). The bill would provide medical benefits and other compensation to the post-1971 uranium miners and to the people affected by testing in New Mexico, the Pacific islands and throughout the West who are experiencing health problems due to radiation exposure.