Date registered: Aug 2002
Vehicle: 2021 SL770
Location: Fountain Hills, AZ
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U.S. nuclear test compensation fund nearly drained
MARSHALL ISLANDS - A fund set up by the American government to compensate Marshall Islanders exposed to radiation during 67 nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific is running out of money.
As of Oct. 21, the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal said it will be able to make only partial payments to more than 1,700 residents suffering from radiation-related illnesses.
The tribunal blames its inability to pay the personal injury claims in full on the inadequate amount of money left in the Nuclear Claims Fund, 18 years after the American government established it.
The fund owes about $15 million US in personal injury awards, but its balance now stands at only about $5 million US.
When it was set up in 1986, the $150-million fund was deemed by the Americans to be "full and final compensation" for the 67 nuclear weapons tests it conducted in the chain of Pacific islands starting at the end of the Second World War.
One of the atolls, Bikini, was the site of at least two Hiroshima-size atomic tests as well as the detonation of the world's first hydrogen bomb, estimated at 1,000 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb.
Islanders from several atolls were repeatedly relocated in a failed attempt to protect them from fallout.
In 1963, doctors began noticing the first thyroid tumours, among people exposed to the 1954 hydrogen bomb test known as Bravo.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands sent a petition for additional compensation to the U.S. Congress more than four years ago, but legislators have not yet acted upon it.
"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon