Documentary sheds light on Emmett 'Downwinders'

Credit: KTVB

Documentary sheds light on Emmett 'Downwinders'


by Bonnie Shelton

Bio | Email | Follow: @BonnieKTVB


Posted on August 8, 2013 at 8:25 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 8 at 4:35 PM

EMMETT -- A new documentary outlining the effects of nuclear testing in Nevada in the 1950s and 1960s will premier in Emmett on Saturday.

The movie is called "A Downwinder's Story" and details the effects of nuclear radiation on places downwind of the United States' former testing site in Nevada.

A life-long Emmett resident, Tona Henderson, tells us she's seen the effects of the nuclear fallout firsthand.

"I have 30 people in my family that have had cancer," said Henderson.

She says that cancer is caused by nuclear fallout brought to Emmett by the wind after the nuclear bomb testing decades ago.

"It just rained was just like detonating a bomb here," she said.

Some victims in counties close to the test site have received government compensation for the harm the testing caused, but not Emmett.

The issue is the subject of the new documentary made by Jay and John Wayne Films. The documentary also features Enterprise, Utah. Victims there have received federal money after getting sick.

"All the cancers that they've had, they look pretty much like Emmett. They're compensated and we're not," said Henderson.

She hopes showing the film in Emmett will raise awareness and support for a new piece of legislation brought forth by U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo. It would recognize more cities and states as places where nuclear fallout has had harsh consequences.

"If this is all you know, than that's all there is," she said.

We did contact the Department of Justice for comment on the issue.

In a statement, officials with the Radiation Exposure Compensation Program (RECA) say it is up to Congress to change the laws regarding who can apply for and receive compensation through RECA.

Tona Henderson says she hopes this documentary will keep the conversation going.

The movie will be shown Saturday at Emmett's Frontier Cinema at 3 p.m. Tickets are free and can be picked up at Tona Henderson's business, the Rumor Mill Bakery.

To reserve your spot, you can call her at (208) 365-2669. She says there are still seats available, but they are going fast.

Sen. Crapo plans to be at the premier of this movie Saturday.

There will be a public comment period on downwinder legislation at 5 p.m.

Capo has co-sponsored legislation four times since 2005 to compensate victims of the radiation by amending the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.