“The First Dirty Bomb: Trinity” Presentations in NM

Next week, Joseph J. Shonka, Ph.D., will present his lecture, entitled, “The First Dirty Bomb:  Trinity,” at New Mexico universities and colleges.  His presentation will include key facts about the July 16, 1945, test of the first atomic bomb at the Trinity site in south central New Mexico.  That bomb was packed with 13 pounds of plutonium, a highly carcinogenic radioactive substance.  Like a dirty bomb, only a small portion – three pounds – went critical.  The remaining ten pounds were spread throughout the bomb plume, over water, and into the soil.  Cattle grazing on the Chupadera Mesa, northeast of the test site, lost patches of hair from their hides from overexposure to the radioactive fallout – estimated to be approximately 20,000 Rem.

Following the test, tens of thousands of people living within a 50-mile radius of the test site, were not notified or evacuated.  They continued their sustainable lifeways – drinking, bathing, irrigating their gardens and fields, and putting up the harvest with the contaminated water, breathing the air, and celebrating their lives.

Dr. Shonka is a key researcher for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment (LAHDRA) Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  https://wwwn.cdc.gov/LAHDRA/  He has worked in nuclear engineering and health physics for over 40 years.

The LAHDRA Project began in 1999.  After reviewing documents stored in over 40,000 boxes, the final LAHDRA report was released in November 2010.  Chapter 10 is devoted to the Trinity test.  https://wwwn.cdc.gov/LAHDRA/Content/pubs/reports/sections/Chapter%2010-%20Trinity%20Test.pdf

The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC) is hosting Dr. Shonka’s lecture series.  They seek justice for the unknowing, unwilling, and uncompensated participants of the July 16, 1945, Trinity test.  https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/

Dr. Shonka’s educational presentations will begin on Monday, November 4th and run through Thursday, November 7thRegistration for each event will begin one half hour before the start time.  Space is limited.

On Monday, November 4th, at the University of New Mexico Centennial Engineering Auditorium in Albuquerque, the presentation will begin at 6 pm.  https://engineering.unm.edu/about/visit-us.html

On Tuesday, November 5th, at the New Mexico Mining and Technology Institute Workman Center, in Room 101, at 20 Olive Lane, in Socorro, the presentation will begin at 7 pm.  https://nmt.edu/calendar/index.php?com=location&lID=11

On Wednesday, November 6th, at the New Mexico State University Hardman Jacobs Learning Center, Room 210, in Las Cruces, the presentation will begin at 3 pm.  https://hjlc.nmsu.edu/

On Thursday, November 7th, at the Northern New Mexico College Little Theatre in the Fine Arts Center, in Española, the presentation will begin at 6 pm.  https://nnmc.edu/home/about-northern/espanola-campus-map/  TBDC Shonka NNMC Flyer

For more information, please contact Tina Cordova of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium at 505-897-6787 or via email at info@trinitydownwinders.com

1.   Friday, November 1st – Ban Nuclear Weapons – National Call-in Day organized by the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom.  Call your House representative to co-sponsor H.R. 2419 Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Energy and Economic Conversation Act, introduced by DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.  Call your representative’s  DC office at 202-224-3121.  For more info:  https://wilpfus.org/news/updates/action-alert-national-call-day-hr-2419-friday-november-1

2.    Monday, November 4th and Tuesday, November 5th, the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee, a NM Legislature Interim Committee, will hold its final meeting of 2019 at the Roundhouse.  The agenda is available here:  https://www.nmlegis.gov/agendas/RHMCageNov04.19.pdf

3.    Monday, November 4th – Thursday, November 7th – The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC) is bringing Joseph J. Shonka, Ph.D., to New Mexico in early November to present his recent lecture “The First Dirty Bomb, Trinity.”   Please see today’s Update for more information.

4.    Thursday and Friday, November 14 and 15th, beginning at 9 am – the New Mexico Environment Department will hold its second hearing on the Ground Water Discharge Permit (DP-1132) for the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  The hearing will take place in the historic Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos.  The public notice is available at https://www.env.nm.gov/gwqb/public-notice/#Hearings

5.    If you appreciate our work to keep you informed, please support CCNS with an end-of-the-year tax-deductible contribution.  Mail your check to CCNS, P. O. Box 31147, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1147, or use our e-contribution form on the right side of our home page at http://nuclearactive.org/


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  • Bill Tiwald

    (I sent this letter to the NM congressional delegation and a version to the governor and several state senators and legislators in affected districts)

    I am compelled to write that Trinity Bomb Test Site New Mexico “Downwinders” and their genetic heirs were left out of the process to file cancer claims caused by the first test of atomic weapons. I attended a lecture attended by 75 people at UNM provided by Joseph Shonka, who has worked as a researcher for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
    Dr. Shonka presents that 10 pounds of un-fissioned plutonium, the most poisonous substance known, was dispersed over a significant part of New Mexico, north by northeast of the Trinity test site. Furthermore, Dr. Shonka noted that when Congress realized in the 1960’s that atomic, hydrogen and nuclear bomb testing is extremely poisonous, New Mexico was left out and the assistance to citizens that was given only to victims in Nevada, Utah and Arizona and NOT PROVIDED TO NEW MEXICO!
    Dr Shonka noted that the legislation to assist victims is will lapse in 2022.
    This leaves only a short window to re-authorize the legislation and include assistance to New Mexico Trinity Atomic Test Bomb Downwinders.
    I sincerely hope that you will visit the concerns of the New Mexico Atomic Bomb Test Downwinders and their genetic heirs and support them with federal legislative assistance.

    Please Take Action,
    Bill Tiwald,

    Below is the link to the National Cancer Benefit Center available only to Arizona, Utah and Nevada residents.


    Below is the link to an audio of Dr. Shonka’s lecture,


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