LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) is taking up the cause of Nevada Test Site workers who were exposed to radiation.

Rosen joined other senators in introducing the Downwinders Parity Act, legislation that would extend eligibility for compensation due to illnesses caused by radiation exposure at the test site — now called the Nevada National Security Site. The site is about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

“Downwinders” are loosely defined as those individuals that lived downwind from nuclear production facilities or nuclear test sites, according to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.

The decades-long fight for compensation has played out while many of those affected the most have long since died.

The bill would ensure that all individuals in Clark County who were present during the atmospheric nuclear testing at the NNSS and exposed to radiation are eligible for federal compensation. It is an amendment to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

“Nevadans exposed to radiation and harmed as a result of atomic weapons tests during the Cold War deserve better compensation,” said Senator Rosen. “That’s why I joined my colleagues in introducing legislation to expand coverage for federal compensation for those impacted by Cold War atomic weapons testing.”

Rosen originally helped introduce the Downwinders Parity Act last Congress. She also helped introduce the RECA Extension Act, which was signed into law in 2022 and extends the current RECA program until June 2024.

RECA compensates individuals who were exposed to radiation while working in uranium mines or living downwind from atomic weapons tests.