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Senate Passes Cantwell-backed Resolution Honoring Nuclear Workers

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

The U.S. Senate has passed a resolution co-sponsored by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that designates October 30, 2013, as a national day of remembrance for nuclear weapons program workers.

Senate Resolution 164 was sponsored by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) and cosponsored by 10 senators, including Cantwell. The resolution passed September 18, 2013, by unanimous consent and does not require a House vote or the President's signature.

"This resolution honors the thousands of current and former nuclear workers at Hanford and across our nation," said Cantwell. "They pushed the limits of scientific discovery and helped keep our nation safe -- sometimes at the expense of their own health and safety.

"This week, the U.S. Senate recognized the significant sacrifice of the workers who played a key role in this chapter of our nation's history. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure America's nuclear weapons workers and their families get access to the health care and benefits that they have earned. And, I am working to honor their legacy by passing a bill to preserve the B Reactor and its history for future generations as part of a new Manhattan Project National Historical Park."

The Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act (S. 507) would preserve Hanford's B Reactor as part of a new National Historical Park. The bipartisan legislation is led by Cantwell and Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee member Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tom Udall (D-NM) are original cosponsors of the bill, along with ENR Committee member Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM). The bill has passed committee and moved to the full Senate for consideration.

Since 2003, Cantwell has worked with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) to get Hanford workers and their families the medical treatment and compensation they earned after being exposed to radiation and toxins while on the job.

The full text of Senate Resolution 164 follows:

Whereas, since World War II, hundreds of thousands of men and women, including uranium miners, millers, and haulers, have served the United States by building nuclear weapons for the defense of the United States;

Whereas those dedicated workers paid a high price for their service to develop a nuclear weapons program for the benefit of the United States, including by developing disabling or fatal illnesses;

Whereas the Senate recognized the contribution, service, and sacrifice those patriotic men and women made for the defense of the United States in Senate Resolution 151, 111th Congress, agreed to May 20, 2009, Senate Resolution 653, 111th Congress, agreed to September 28, 2010, Senate Resolution 275, 112th Congress, agreed to September 26, 2011, and Senate Resolution 519, 112th Congress, agreed to August 1, 2012;

Whereas a national day of remembrance time capsule has been crossing the United States, collecting artifacts and the stories of nuclear weapons program workers relating to the nuclear defense era of the United States, and a remembrance quilt has been constructed to memorialize the contribution of those workers;

Whereas the stories and artifacts reflected in the time capsule and the remembrance quilt reinforce the importance of recognizing nuclear weapons program workers; and

Whereas those patriotic men and women deserve to be recognized for the contribution, service, and sacrifice they have made for the defense of the United States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) designates October 30, 2013, as a national day of remembrance for the nuclear weapons program workers, including uranium miners, millers, and haulers, of the United States; and

(2) encourages the people of the United States to support and participate in appropriate ceremonies, programs, and other activities to commemorate October 30, 2013, as a national day of remembrance for past and present workers in the nuclear weapons program of the United States.

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