9 Mar 2004

New nuclear compensation claim in Marshall Islands

8:29 am on 9 March 2004

A tiny atoll in the northern Marshall Islands has filed a claim for nuclear test compensation and health care funding.

Ailuk Atoll, which the US says was not significantly exposed to nuclear test fallout, has lodged a case for compensation with the Nuclear Claims Tribunal in Majuro.

The Ailuk Islanders say they have experienced severe health problems, including a high rate of miscarriages and stillbirths among women, as a result of living in a radioactive environment since the Bravo hydrogen bomb test at Bikini fifty years ago.

The claim comes on the heels of claims filed by four other atolls acknowledged to be affected by radiation: Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utrik.

The tribunal has already paid out more than one billion dollars in hardship and loss of use compensation and nuclear cleanup funding to Bikini and Enewetak and similar claims from Rongelap and Utrik are still to be settled.

The Marshall Islands government has asked the US for more compensation funding saying the 260 million dollars provided through a 1986 settlement is woefully inadequate.