Downwinders: Fatal Harvest


Fatal Harvest

Throughout the era of atmospheric nuclear testing, the government maintained that radioactive fallout from the tests was confined to a small area near the Nevada test site, and anyway, the amount of radiation was negligible. But mounting evidence points to the reality that fallout likely impacted the majority of the continental United States.

Rich Miller map


Tina Cordova
Tina is a Downwinder and  founder of the
Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, lobbying for the rights of New Mexicans exposed to fallout from the Trinity test  

Mary Dickson
Mary is a Downwinder, a cancer survivor, a journalist, and a playwright. Her play “Exposed” is a docu-drama that follows her story from cancer diagnosis to downwinder activism. 

Ilene Hacker
Ilene is a Downwinder. After her father’s cancer death at age 48, this resident of St. George Utah began a life-long campaign for recognition and compensation for downwinders. 

Bill Heller
Bill is a long-time sports journalist from upstate New York. He has written two books about the radioactive contamination of the Troy area after Shot Simon in 1953: A Good Day Has No Rain, and Stolen Lives: Albany High School.

Judge Bruce S. Jenkins
Judge Jenkins is a Senior United States District Judge. He was the presiding judge in the landmark Allen class action lawsuit in 1979 charging that the U.S. government negligently exposed the plaintiffs to radioactive fallout.  

Barbara Kent
Barbara is a Downwinder and cancer survivor. As a child, Barbara played in the fallout from the Trinity test, believing it was snow.

Senator Ben Ray Lujan
Senator Lujan has represented the state of New Mexico since 2009, first as a representative, then as Senator.   

Dr. Steven L. Simon
Dr. Simon is a staff scientist at the National Institutes of Health and an expert on radiation and its implications for cancer. 

Speakers from other sources: Frank Butrico; Janet Gordon; Claudia Peterson; Elmer Pickett; Preston Truman; Richard Whitehouse

Thank you to the J. Willard Marriott Library Downwinders of Utah Archives

Additional Resources:

Documentary Film: Downwind (2023; Mark Shapiro & Douglas Brian Miller, Directors; with Michael Douglas, Lewis Black, Martin Sheen (premieres August 2023)

Documentary Film: Downwinders and the Radioactive West (PBS Utah; 2021) 

Richard Miller’s Map of Fallout Patterns (on the website Downwind)

Mary Dickson on YouTube

Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium

Willard Marriott Library Downwinders of Utah Archives

Heal Utah: Downwinder Interviews (Claudia Peterson, Janet Gordon, Mary Dickson and Robert DeBirk, Darlene Phillips, Chuck Hoepfner and Darlene Larsen, Tina Cordova)

Tina Cordova on YouTube: How We Are Still Feeling the Effects of the First Nuclear Bomb Test

YouTube: Did the Government Kill John Wayne?  

YouTube: The Major Hollywood Movie That Killed Nearly Half its Cast and Crew

From the U.S. Department of Justice:

Radiation Exposure Compensation Act

Fallout from U.S. atmospheric nuclear tests  in New Mexico and Nevada (1945-1962)

Senator Ben Ray Lujan on expanding RECA  


RECA Claim Forms: see if you qualify for compensation as a downwinder

National Cancer Benefits Center: RECA