The Devastating Effects in Utah of Nuclear Weapon Testing at the Nevada Test Site

July 17, 2017 – Beginning in 1951, the era of nuclear weapons testing was a time of tremendous change at both national and local levels. In the name of national security, a variety of nuclear weapons were tested in a remote area of the Nevada desert known as the Nevada Test Site. Fallout and radiation from these tests have affected communities across the nation, in many cases resulting in the loss of property, health and life.

The University of Utah’s J. Marriott Library created an interactive, geospatial archive that depicts the story of Utah radioactive fallout related to atmospheric nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site.

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The Downwinders of Utah Archive presents an in-depth study of nuclear detonations, radioactive fallout and events that resulted in devastating effects for Utah’s “Downwinder” population. Through this archive, a variety of materials are presented:

  • Individual fallout maps and statistics related to Iodine-131 exposures for all Utah counties
  • Historic photographs and videos of nuclear detonations
  • Newspaper articles and documentation chronologically depicting the impacts and deceptions imparted to residents
  • A collection of oral history interviews from some of Utah’s surviving Downwinders