People from the Marshall Islands plan to seek one billion dollars in
compensation this year for damage to their health and environment caused by
67 US nuclear tests during the Cold War.
The cases in the US courts are being brought by former inhabitants and their
descendents from the evacuated central Pacific atolls of Bikini and Enewetak,
where the tests were held between 1946 and 1958.
A third atoll Rongelap will also bring a suit as a consequence of being unexpectedly
showered with massive nuclear fallout during the Bravo test, the world’s
biggest ever nuclear explosion. Rongelap, about 160 km east of Bikini, also
had to be evacuated and residents have not yet returned there or to Bikini.
The Marshall Islands, which is self-governing under a compact of free association
with the United States, has made no progress with a petition filed six years
ago to the US Congress seeking more compensation. This is prompting the atolls
to take their cases back to the US court system.
Bikini Atoll will file a claim in the US courts this month, the 60th anniversary
of their removal from the atoll by the US Navy to start the nuclear tests, according
to Bikini Senator Tomaki Juda.