Expansion of the current Radiation Exposure Compensation Act working its way through Congress, received support from the Socorro City Council last week.

Last week Socorro City Council approved a proclamation supporting the extension and expansion of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) which would extend the current RECA set to expire on June 10, 2024.

Mayor Ravi Bhasker told council members, the expansion of the bill would support the inclusion of the New Mexico Downwinders group, who were not included in the first RECA congressional bill.

In 1990, the United States passed (RECA) to pay restitution and medical care to people exposed to radiation from the nuclear tests. However, while the U.S. government has been compensating downwinders in other states, it has never included individuals from New Mexico where the world’s first atomic bomb was tested on July 16, 1945.

As a doctor in New Mexico, Bhasker said, he has been a first-hand witness to radiation exposure because some of his patients were exposed to cancerous diseases such as leukemia, multiple myeloma and lymphomas. “I’ve had patients who have had brain tumors and may different types of cancers – many of them living in the San Antonio area and care centers,” he said.

House Resolution 4426 and Senate Bill 175 would extend and expand RECA and include the New Mexico Downwinders for the first time.

The resolution included a notation that the United Sates has approved a $50 billion budget per year for the last 33 years to maintain its current arsenals but in the same period, less than one percent of that amount had been paid to individuals adversely affected by radioactive atomic tests.