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Downwinder Population of Southern Utah Asked to Provide Oral Histories 

Come tell your story!

Monday June 12, 2017 from 1:00pm – 7:00pm
Washington County Library – St. George Main Branch
88 W 100 S St. George, UT

Tuesday June 13, 2017 from 1:00pm – 7:00pm
Cedar City Public Library
303 N 100 E Cedar City, UT

Wednesday June 14, 2017 from 1:00pm – 7:00pm
Kanab City Library
374 N Main St Kanab, UT


Operation Plumbbob, Priscilla, June 24, 1957, National Nuclear Security Administration

Staff from The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will be in southern Utah collecting oral histories on the impact of nuclear testing on individuals and their families. These interviews will be included in the Downwinders of Utah Archive, which provides historical data on the nuclear testing that occurred at the Nevada Test Site and the fallout that resulted.

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 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.

“The Archive focuses on individuals, families and geographic areas that were negatively affected,” said Justin Sorensen, GIS Specialist at the Marriott Library and creator of the archive. “Our hope is that the archive illustrates the events and impacts in greater detail, while educating future generations in the hope that the mistakes of the past will never occur again.”

KUED’s Mary Dickson speaks about her personal experience with Downwinders.

Mary Dickson, Downwinder, playwright and advocate for the Downwinders population comments, “It is critical that the stories of the Downwinders be recorded and preserved. Not only are these stories a valuable record of a shameful chapter of our shared past, they also serve as a reminder and a warning that we all live downwind. Without this important archive, our stories die with us.”

Individuals and families affected by the radioactive fallout in Utah are invited to share their stories. Staff from the Marriott Library will be available at the locations listed above on June 12, 13 and 14.

Justin Sorensen and Tony Sams will be visiting Southern Utah to collect stories of Downwinders.

For more information on the archive, events or to view current oral history interviews, visit or contact Justin Sorensen at the Marriott Library at or 801- 585-7349.

Feature image is of Upshot-Knothole, Grable, May 25, 1953 National Nuclear Security Administration.

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