The Utah House unanimously passed a resolution Monday urging the U.S. Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Rep. Jen Seelig, D-Salt Lake City, explained that the nonbinding HR4 applied only to the exploding and detonating of nuclear weapons and would not affect nuclear-power development.
The 1996 treaty never was ratified, Seelig said, due to concerns about the nation's atomic stockpiles and weapons development in other countries. Those concerns have since been addressed, she added, and the treaty comes up for U.S. Senate ratification in 2011.
"There has been growing bipartisan support of this treaty," Seelig said, "led by Republican and Democratic national security leaders."
Rep. Trisha Beck, D-Sandy, reminded her colleagues of a pamphlet distributed decades ago by the U.S. government saying that the nuclear-test site in Nevada was safe and did not cause illness.
But, by 1990, the federal government had passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to aid those who had been damaged by above- and below-ground testing that continued through the Cold War.
"The pamphlet said it was benign," Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, said. "People would sit out and watch the explosions with their kids."
Noel urged passage of HR4, saying his own mother had died of cancer.