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Atomic Veterans Offered Certificates For Their Sacrifice

Observers watch an explosion during Operation Hardtack in 1958. 35 nuclear tests were conducted in the Pacific, exposing troops to radiation.
Nevada National Security Site
Observers watch an explosion during Operation Hardtack in 1958. 35 nuclear tests were conducted in the Pacific, exposing troops to radiation.

More than 500,000 American veterans were exposed to nuclear weapons tests from the 1940s to the early 1990s. These so-called “atomic veterans” were not permitted to speak about their participation in the tests until 1996 when the Nuclear Radiation and Secrecy Agreements Laws were repealed. Now the veterans who were exposed to the radiation from the weapons program will be offered a certificate marking their contribution.Host Frank Stasio speaks with American Homefront Project reporter Stephanie Colombini about her story on the Pentagon’s offer of certificates for atomic veterans.

Some say a piece of paper is not enough, especially considering the health problems they have faced in the years since the exposure — problems like cancer, infertility and nerve diseases. Host Frank Stasio speaks with American Homefront Project reporter Stephanie Colombini about her story on the Pentagon’s offer of certificates for atomic veterans.

 

Copyright 2019 North Carolina Public Radio

Veterans and Military Issues Reporter, WUSF - Tampa
Laura Pellicer
Laura Pellicer is a producer with The State of Things (hyperlink), a show that explores North Carolina through conversation. Laura was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, a city she considers arrestingly beautiful, if not a little dysfunctional. She worked as a researcher for CBC Montreal and also contributed to their programming as an investigative journalist, social media reporter, and special projects planner. Her work has been nominated for two Canadian RTDNA Awards. Laura loves looking into how cities work, pursuing stories about indigenous rights, and finding fresh voices to share with listeners. Laura is enamored with her new home in North Carolina—notably the lush forests, and the waves where she plans on moonlighting as a mediocre surfer.
Frank Stasio
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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