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New Stories Available in the Downwinders of Utah Archive

An audience viewing the test detonation of a nuclear weapon conducted at the Nevada Test Site.

By Justin Sorensen

During this past summer, my colleague Anthony Sams and I had the privilege of hosting several public events throughout Utah for the Downwinders of Utah Archive – an educational resource designed to share the story of nuclear weapons testing conducted at the Nevada Test Site and the lasting impacts to individuals living downwind. Each of these events consisted of sharing information about the archive while recording the stories of individuals personally affected by nuclear weapons testing.

The opportunity to meet and conduct interviews with each of these individuals has been a truly humbling experience for me. I cannot express what an honor it is to collect and share these untold stories of how nuclear weapons testing has impacted the lives of so many individuals and families as well as the hardships they have and continue to endure, both physically and emotionally.

When I first began developing the Downwinders of Utah Archive in 2015, I never imagined it would evolve into the resource it has become today. What began as a simple GIS project to analyze and visualize nuclear fallout levels throughout Utah quickly blossomed into an educational tool for public awareness and a resource for Downwinder victims to share their stories with others. It has moved beyond the limits of the University of Utah to reach local, national, and international audiences – many of whom have incorporated its content and resources into projects and research they are developing.

Currently, we have collected a total of 34 video interviews, 15 audio interviews, and 3 written narratives. These stories along with a number of interview transcripts from our Special Collections Department are available for viewing through the Downwinders of Utah Archive website at

If you are unfamiliar with the history of nuclear weapons testing in our country or are interested in hearing the personal accounts of those living downwind, I highly encourage you to visit the Downwinders of Utah Archive.

Justin Sorensen | GIS Specialist
Creativity & Innovation Services / GIS Services

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