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The Marshall Islands have marked over 60 years since the U.S
hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll, the exiled islanders claiming
their fear of going back because of nuclear contamination levels.
The Marshall Islands have marked over 60 years since the U.S hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll, the exiled islanders claiming their fear of going back because of nuclear contamination levels. Being a part of the cold war nuclear arms race, the 15 megaton Bravo test, done on 1st March 1954 was even more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. It devastatingly exposed thousands in the neighboring area to the radioactive fallout. This was conducted on the Bikini Atoll.
The islanders have lived in exile since they were moved during the first weapons tests during 1946. The U.S government had declared Bikini safe for resettlement, and the citizens were allowed to return in 1970 but were again removed in 1978, after ingesting high levels of radiation from eating foods grown on the site.
These nuclear experiments ended in 1958 after 67 tests were conducted. But a United Nations report in 2012 said that the effects were long lasting. The report called for the United States to provide extra compensation to settle claims by nuclear-affected Marshall Islanders and end the legacy of distrust. The citizens feel that it just not a loss of their home but also a loss of their cultural heritage, traditional customs and particular skill set which was passed down by generations.
The Marshall Islands president, Christopher Loeak, called on the US to resolve the unfinished business of its nuclear testing legacy, saying compensation provided by Washington does not provide a fair and just settlement for the damage caused.
The US ambassador Thomas Armbruster said, words are insufficient to express the sadness of the 60th anniversary of the nuclear test, adding that the US was continuing to work with the Marshall Islands to provide healthcare and environmental monitoring of several affected islands.
The US embassy in Majuro said on its website: While international scientists did study the effects of that accident on the human population unintentionally affected, the United States never intended for Marshallese to be hurt by the tests.