26 Mar 2012

Evacuees could return to outer Marshall Island atoll after 27 years

11:49 am on 26 March 2012

The mayor of Rongelap Atoll in the Marshall Islands says a lot of people are excited about resettling to Rongelap after being forced to evacuate nearly 30 years ago due to the effects of nuclear testing.

In 1954 the United States detonated a nuclear bomb on neighbouring Bikini atoll and radioactive fallout landed on Rongelap atoll.

Following ongoing health issues the Rongelapese evacuated in 1985 and relocated elsewhere in the Marshall Islands.

The major James Matayoshi says scientists have declared it safe now and there are already about 70 people on the island, including workers who are building 40 new homes.

"There are excitement among the community members especially those who live on Majeto island that they would like to resettle and a lot of factors on people deciding whether to resettle or not and one of the main factors is all the conveniences are there."

James Matayoshi says there's no set date for resettlement and it's up to individuals whether they want to return.