Marshalls Adopts Tough New Radiation Standards at U.S. Nuke Test Sites

December 23, 1998 - 0:0
MAJURO The Marshall Islands has adopted tough new radiation safety standards that clear the way for a decision on multi-million-dollar compensation claims arising from U.S. nuclear tests during the cold war. The Majuro-based Nuclear Claims Tribunal announced Tuesday it was adopting stringent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) radiation safety standards for the clean-up of nuclear test-affected sites in the islands. Claimants from Enewetak atoll, site of 43 American nuclear tests, led the push for adoption of the strict 15-millirem EPA radiation limit rather than the 100-millirem standard favored by the United States. They said the tribunal ruling would benefit all Marshall islanders whose lands were contaminated by U.S. nuclear testing in the 1940s and 1950s. The tribunal said that Marshall islanders should be treated no differently than Washington treated its own citizens, using International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) principles in making its decision to adopt the U.S. standard.

The IAEA says that standards used for protecting populations outside national borders should be at least as stringent as those for the population within the country of release, the three-member tribunal said in its decision. The Marshall Islands is a self-governing associated territory of the United States. (AFP)