9 Mar 2006

Bikini islanders to file lawsuit in US courts over nuclear tests

2:57 pm on 9 March 2006

Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands is preparing to file a lawsuit in the United States courts in the next few weeks asking for more than 500 million US dollars in compensation.

Two other islands, Enewetak Atoll and Rongelap Atoll, are also hoping for compensation following the series of 67 US nuclear weapons tests which took place on the islands between 1946 and 1958.

The US paid compensation to the Marshalls under previous agreements, but as health problems are said to be far more devastating than expected, the Marshall Islands is now seeking further support.

Bikini Atoll will file a claim this month and the Trust liaison for the people on Bikini, Jack Niedenthal, says it's become a matter of urgency for them.

"I think there's a lot of people in the US government that would really like to help us but under the compact the US government does not have to fund anything, I mean, they can entertain it and they can look at it but it's up to them to do what they want. It took them five years just to respond to that change of circumstance petition, they're not in any hurry to do anything and meanwhile we have people that are living off of Bikini, we have a clean-up we have to do. We're tired of waiting, I guess is the bottom line."