24 Nov 2010

MP in Marshall Islands says people being pressured to return to nuclear test atoll

8:51 am on 24 November 2010

The MP representing Rongelap in the Marshall Islands believes people are being pressured to return to the nuclear test contaminated atoll before they want to.

Bids have been made to rebuild another 40 homes on the main island on top of ten already constructed.

The US Department of the Interior has warned that funding being used to support a community of about 400 moved off the island in 1985, will be have to used on resettling Rongelap itself from next year.

But MP Kenneth Kidu says his people are being victimised because of audits over spending while they are still fearful of radiation levels:

"Do we put out people back into a contaminated environment because our leadership are being questioned about the audit, and should we allow that? For me as a new Senator here and coming on board and wasn't aware of the audit concerns I will stand with the people and there desire not to go back until Rongelap is safe for them to resettle."

Rongelap Mayor, James Matayoshi, says he doesn't believe people are being forced to move back to the main island, but that he and his council are facilitating the process of re-settlement.