29 Apr 2004

Marshalls discouraged by nuclear review delays

10:23 am on 29 April 2004

The Marshall Islands is disappointed by the lack of a response from the Bush administration to a petition for more nuclear test compensation.

The Foreign Minister Gerald Zackios says it's discouraging to see the delay, adding it's been a 'slow process' to get officials in Washington to respond.

Despite the delays the Marshall Islands is moving ahead with its lobbying effort with US Congressional Staff in an effort to get action on the petition.

The document - which calls for more than US$2 billion dollars in extra compensation - has been sitting in Congress for more than three and a half years, and with the Bush Administration for more than two years.

Two years ago, Congressional leaders told the Bush Administration to review the petition, before Congress held hearings on the issue.

Marshall Islanders say the US$270 million dollars provided by the United States in a Compact of Free Association in 1986 is woefully inadequate to meet the real nuclear clean-up, and health care needs.

The Marshall Islands says the amount of radioactive iodine released by the 67 nuclear tests there was 150 times greater than the amount released in the Chernobyl disaster.