Plutonium Detections From Trinity Test Discovered 78 years After Test – Confirm RECA Must Be Expanded
Located in the Tularosa Basin in southern New Mexico, the Trinity Test Site marks the location of the first detonation of a nuclear weapon. Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” would have you believe this area is desolate, inhospitable and uninhabited. Contrary to this narrative and popular opinion, The area where the Trinity test occurred was not uninhabited. There were more than 13,000 New Mexicans living within a 50-mile radius. Many of those children, women and men were not warned before or after the test. The event marking the dawn of the nuclear age in July 1945 ushered in decades of health issues for residents living downwind due to exposure to radioactive fallout. The long-lasting impact of radiation exposure is a painful legacy that the New Mexican communities have had to bear.
New preliminary information strongly supports Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) status for New Mexicans downwind of the Trinity Test Site. In the past weeks, Michael E. Ketterer, (Professor Emeritus, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ) has completed a short “proof of principle” study that directly investigates where plutonium in soils originates by analyzing isotopic ratios, in a known portion of the Trinity Test plume.
Dr. Ketterer sampled soils along highways NM 42, US 54, NM 55, US 60, and US 380. The isotopes show that there is definitely plutonium from the Trinity Test in the northeast plume, and distinguishes it from global (stratospheric) background and New Mexico regional background from Nevada Test Site fallout. Soils along all five of these highways contain plutonium that reflects mixtures of Trinity Test debris and global/Nevada regional background fallout; in some cases, nearly 100% of the Pu originates from the Trinity Test.