LOS ALAMOS, N.M., July 16, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - Seventy years after a nuclear bomb was detonated in Los Alamos, New Mexico, residents in the nearby Hispanic, largely Catholic town of Tularosa are seeking compensation for what they suffered.
The bomb, detonated in the Jornada del Muerto desert at 5:30 a.m. on July 16, 1945 — a major Marian feast day on the Catholic liturgical calendar honoring Our Lady of Mt. Carmel — was part of the top-secret Manhattan Project, the research team tasked with creating the atomic bombs that were eventually dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Many of the 30,000 residents of Tularosa, who didn't find out about the test site until well after the fact, are said to have developed rare forms of cancer following the blast, and are now seeking compensation as well as an acknowledgment from the federal government of the harms they suffered.
Earlier this year, a group called the Tularosa Basin Downwinders protested the 70th anniversery tour of the Trinity site — the test location of the blast — holding signs as caravans passed by with tourists eager to see where the first atomic bomb in history had been dropped.
The Downwinders are a group of individuals affected by this blast along with other atmospheric nuclear weapons tests, who themselves have developed cancer or leukemia, or whose family members have. They're asking Congress to sponsor amendments that would allow those affected by the weapons tests to be compensated under the 1990 Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.