Maui News

Assessment Sought of Nuclear Waste Concerns at Runit Dome

June 14, 2019, 7:41 AM HST
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is calling for an assessment of nuclear waste concerns at the Runit Dome in the Marshall Islands.

The dome, locally called “The Tomb,” contains 111,000 cubic yards of radioactive nuclear waste created as a consequence of US nuclear testing in the region during the Cold War with fallout from these tests addressed in the late-1970s.

Rep. Gabbard said the Marshallese people are “gravely concerned” about environmental threats to the integrity of the storage site and impact on their country.

She successfully included an amendment to the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that requires the filing of an unclassified public report on the current state of the facility.  The report would assess the current condition of the dome’s outer construct, it’s environmental impacts, and safety of food sources and people residing in the vicinity of Runit Dome.

“The US government is responsible for this storage site and must ensure the protection of the people and our environment from the toxic waste stored there,” said Rep. Gabbard.

In addition to the NDAA amendment, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is an original cosponsor of H.R. 1377, the Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act which would provide for the treatment of veterans who participated in the cleanup of Enewetak Atoll as radiation exposed veterans for purposes of the presumption of service-connection of certain disabilities by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Current law only covers servicemembers who participated in active nuclear tests, not those who participated in the cleanup.

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