Downwinder compensation likely to end this year

Downwinder compensation likely to end this year
The former Nevada Test Site. Image: Ken Lund / Wikimedia Commons

LAS VEGAS — People who were affected by radiation exposure following nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site are being urged to file claims for compensation by July 11. The program that’s been providing the funds—along with an apology—to “downwinders” and others since 1990 is set to sunset July 9.

Staff from University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s Nevada Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program (NV RESEP) will hold a series of meetings across rural Nevada in April to share information with people who may not yet have filed a claim for compensation.

NV RESEP also provides free medical screenings, education and cancer early detection services, along with help in filling out the claim forms.

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) provides compensation for people who contracted cancer and other diseases as a result from exposure to elements associated with nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s. Claimants include uranium miners and ore transporters, workers at the Nevada Test Site and people living downwind of the test site including those in Nevada and Utah.

Counties in Nevada included in RECA as part of the “downwinder” portion of the act are Lander, Eureka, Nye, White Pine, Lincoln and a sliver of northern Clark County. Additional counties in southern Utah and northern Arizona also fall within the “downwinder” area.

Beneficiaries in the program go beyond the person exposed. If that person has died without receiving compensation, their close relatives may be eligible to receive the payout.

Compensation ranges from $50,000 to $100,000 based on type of claim, with downwinders eligible for a one-time payout of $50,000.

To-date, RECA has awarded more than $2.5 billion to more than 39,000 people through the compensation program. Downwinders are the largest group of people that have been compensated and have received nearly half of that money—more than $1.24 billion.

NV RESEP informational sessions:

  • April 7, 2022; 10:45 AM @ Caliente Olson Senior Center
  • April 7, 2022; 12:30 PM @ Panaca Senior Center
  • April 8, 2022; 10:45 AM @ Pioche Senior Center
  • April 12, 2022; 11:00 AM @ Alamo Senior Center
  • April 12, 2022; 3:30 PM @ White Pine County Senior Center
  • April 13, 2022; 11:00 AM @ Eureka Senior Center
  • April 14, 2022; 10:00 AM @ Tonopah Senior Center

For more information on the program contact Nevada RESEP at 702-992-6887 or