Extend and Expand RECA: The Victims of Nuclear Testing Have Suffered Enough

radiation monitor

WashingtonWin Without War Government Relations Associate Faith Gay released the following statement in support of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) lobby week:

“On July 16, 1945 the United States tested the first nuclear weapon ever, known as the ‘Trinity test,’ in New Mexico. This was only the first of over one thousand devastating nuclear tests conducted by the U.S. during the Cold War, leading to thousands of radiation victims in several U.S. states. The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) of 1990 was supposed to respond to these victims, but it is set to expire in 2024. Unaddressed, this expiration will harm those relying on RECA measures, and continue to leave thousands of victims without necessary coverage, as it has from day one.

“This is why Win Without War was happy to stand alongside the Union of Concerned Scientists and dozens of individuals impacted by nuclear testing last week to ask members of Congress from California and Texas to extend and expand RECA by supporting the ​​Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2021: HR 5338 and S 2798. This RECA expansion legislation would extend coverage for another 19 years, expand the downwinder eligibility areas to additional states, increase compensation, and provide full healthcare to the claimants.

“It is no accident that the victims of testing of humanity’s most devastating weapon are left in limbo, while the military-industrial complex has only grown in influence and budget since 1945. We need new priorities. Remember this: the U.S. government harmed its own citizens for the sake of a weapon of mass murder and sold it as ‘security.’ It is a moral catastrophe that requires an immediate remedy. Congress must pass the RECA expansion bills as soon as possible in support of the thousands of victims of nuclear testing. It is the absolute least we can do.”


Win Without War is a diverse network of activists and national organizations working for progressive foreign policy in the United States.