LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) --
Atomic bombs are gone from the Nevada Test Site, but health concerns continue to this day.
Many people exposed to the radiation -- even those who were unknowingly subjected in distant neighboring areas -- must routinely undergo cancer screenings.
| FYI: People can be compensated for 22 different types of cancer and, in some cases, for the loss of loved ones. If you think you might be eligible, follow this link.|
But money to help these people is still available, even to survivors.
More than 900 atomic bombs rocked southern Nevada from the 1950s until 1992.
Instead of running away from the blasts, many ran toward them to get a closer look,
While others watched from nearby Las Vegas, a curvaceous Miss Atomic Test Bomb helped sell the concept.
But those who lived downwind of the test site had no idea their health was at risk because of these explosions or that these nuclear spectacles loomed with radiating consequences for the future.
Sisters Iris Flores and Cheryl Shorter were only kids when the above-ground testing took place.
It's said the flash from these bombs could be seen from as far away as San Francisco.
Iris and Cheryl lived in Beatty with their parents and three sisters. But then their mom and dad developed different types of cancer and ultimately died.
Years later, the five sisters were compensated for the loss of their parents through a government program. They heard about it by word of mouth, and then received help through Nevada's Nevada Radiation Exposure Screening & Education Program.
Beatty is one of the areas downwind of the test site. Radiation blew into these neighborhoods, and so-called “downwinders” are entitled to compensation, just like former Test Site workers.
Iris and Cheryl used voter registration records to help them prove they lived downwind during the above ground testing. The siblings received a total of $100,000 for the loss of their parents.
While not all of them are being tested, each sister is entitled to free medical screenings, checking for cancer, hoping to avoid the same fate as their parents.
While there's debate about what government officials knew, and when they knew it, there's no debate about the health hazards of radiation.
The funding was set up through the government after studies proved that radiation from the Test Site led to cancer in many cases.