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Nuclear testing papers: How much will the US reveal?

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Will Marshall Islands finally get the information they seek on nuclear testing legacy?
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By Giff
Johnson

The
Marshall Islands Journal

March 1, 2013

MAJURO, Marshall Islands – Over 50 years after US
nuclear testing ended in the Marshall Islands, the US government is now
considering the release of secret test-era reports. A review of US government
reports on the Marshall Islands nuclear testing is underway in Washington, DC
to determine what can be released to the public, a US Embassy official said
this week.

During the visit by Assistant Secretary of State
Kurt Campbell last August, RMI officials asked the US government to release
secret documents pertaining to the nuclear testing period from 1946 to 1958.
Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Phillip Muller specifically asked for reports
on fallout from the 1956 and 1958 test series that accounted for 50 of the 67
weapons tests the US conducted at Bikini and Enewetak. No information on
fallout from these two test series has yet been made public.

“The process of locating and reviewing the documents
is ongoing,” said US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Doug Carey. “Following
Assistant Secretary Campbell’s visit in August 2012, the Embassy met with
representatives from the RMI to specify the scope of the inquiry and that
discussion led to a formal review request in late October.”

He said all of the documents were located and the
first of the two required reviews was completed in mid-February.

“The review process included discussions with
technical experts to ensure that everything that can be declassified will be
declassified,” Carey said. “The final review is underway now. The Embassy
receives regular updates on the process and we are pleased that the relevant
agencies are actively following through on their commitment to this effort.”

He promised to update local officials on progress as
the second review continues.

The US government declassified thousands of
documents in the mid-1990’s when President Clinton directed the Department of Energy
to release many secret reports on weapons testing and fallout contamination
here.

If the US government releases documents as a result
of the current review in Washington, it will be the first declassification in
more than 15 years.

Copyright
2013 The Marshall Islands Journal

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