1 Mar 2005

Marshall Islands nuclear test survivors hear Chernobyl victim talk in Majuro

4:36 pm on 1 March 2005

A group of Marshall Islanders who survived the fallout from the US largest hydrogen bomb, have met a Ukrainian woman who survived fallout from the world's worst nuclear reactor disaster at Chernobyl.

The group has met Doctor Lyudmyla Porokhnyak in Majuro ahead of today's 51st anniversary of the Bravo test at Bikini Atoll.

Doctor Porokhnyak gave a public lecture in which she described how the authorities of the then-Soviet Union initially attempted to cover up the accident in 1986.

Marshall Islanders described similar efforts by the United States government in 1954 to downplay the devastating impact of the Bravo test on downwind islanders.

A Rongelap Islander, Rayon William, spoke of how she returned to her home in Bikini atoll in 1957 and ate food from the land and sea without knowing it had been laced with radioactivity from the Bravo test.

The US Congress has funded a 45 million dollar resettlement trust fund that is now paying for a clean up and resettlement programme.

But test survivors expressed the concern that reports on the US nuclear testing programme remain classified.