27 Sep 2007

New Marshalls push for US compensation over nuclear weapons tests

2:14 pm on 27 September 2007

An American attorney representing nuclear test-affected islands in the Marshall Islands has called on the United States Congress to deal directly with the US obligation to provide adequate nuclear test compensation.

Bikini Atoll attorney Jonathan Weisgall told a Senate hearing on Energy and Natural Resources in Washington DC that a glaring omission in a new bill on health care is nuclear compensation.

Mr Weisgall said nuclear test-affected atolls support the Senate bill which proposes funding for health care, monitoring of a nuclear waste site and providing eligibility for Marshall Islanders who worked at test sites to an American nuclear worker compensation law.

But the islands want greater health care funding and for the Congress to break its silence on a request for additional compensation that has languished without response since 2000.

The people of Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utrik - four atolls heavily impacted by the 67 American nuclear weapons tests - want funding doubled from the proposed two million US dollars a year.