Utah Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, says he was successful in blocking federal funding for nuclear testing from being approved in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.
Earlier this year, the U.S. House passed an amendment sponsored by McAdams to “prohibit any funding for new nuclear testing in FY21” following reports that President Donald Trump’s administration was considering resuming nuclear weapons testing explosions.
“Explosive nuclear testing causes irreparable harm to human health and to our environment, and jeopardizes the U.S. leadership role on nuclear nonproliferation.”
On Friday, McAdams announced that language in the Senate version of the NDAA allocating $10 million for “test preparations” had been removed from the final conference report of the defense policy bill.
The conference report, which was published on Thursday, does not contain the Senate provisions authorizing the funding.
McAdams celebrated the victory in preventing future U.S. nuclear testing, noting in a press release that “thousands of Utahns are still dealing with trauma inflicted by bombs exploded from decades past, leaving a legacy of illness, suffering and death.”
“Utahns couldn’t trust the government to keep them safe from radioactive fallout before, and I don’t trust the government now,” he said.
McAdams, who narrowly lost to Republican Rep.-elect Burgess Owens in the November general election and will leave office in January, signed on to a bill earlier this year to expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, which provides compensation to uranium miners and “downwinders” who were exposed to cancer-linked radiation.
“It took decades and many untimely deaths, but RECA finally brought a measure of accountability for the government’s deception of its own citizens about the harm inflicted upon them from nuclear tests,” McAdams said at a July press conference. “Today, we know that RECA falls short of making amends to hundreds of thousands of Americans who suffered illness and death, yet never even got so much as an apology from their government.”