19 Dec 2006

Nuclear Claims Tribunal awards compensation to Marshalls atoll

7:48 am on 19 December 2006

The Nuclear Claims Tribunal has awarded more than 307 million US dollars to a group of islanders dusted with fallout from America's biggest hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific.

But with the Majuro-based Tribunal's nuclear investment trust fund virtually exhausted, islanders from Utrik Atoll will not receive any of this compensation award unless the United States government does an about face and agrees to provide additional funds.

The Tribunal¹s award for Utrik Atoll comes as islanders from Bikini and Enewetak atolls seek to convince a U.S. Federal Court of Claims judge to hear their billion dollar lawsuits despite a U.S. Justice Department motion to dismiss the court cases.

Bikini and Enewetak were the ground zeroes of 67 nuclear tests between 1946 and 1958.

A ruling on the appeal is expected soon after the New Year.

U.S. government officials say that the U.S. has already provided full and final nuclear test compensation through an agreement funded by the U.S. government in 1986 that established the Nuclear Claims Tribunal and ultimately provided it with about 150 million to compensate health and land damage claims.

But the Tribunal awarded more than 90 million in health injury cases and more than one point two billion in land damage awards for Bikini, Enewetak and Utrik.