US Congress Seeks Report On Its Marshall Islands Nuclear Dump Site

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US Congress has directed the Department of Energy to submit a report on ageing Runit Dome, where dozens of US atomic bomb tests took place during Cold War

Written By Rishabh Mishra | Mumbai | Updated On:
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The US Congress has directed the Department of Energy to submit a report on the ageing Runit Dome within six months. It is the place where dozens of US atomic bomb tests carried out during the Cold War. The Congress' demand for a report comes as the US President Donald Trump approved a huge defence bill in relation to the Cold War era test sites.  

Report on Runit Dome 

The report sought by the Congress demands Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette to reportedly file "a detailed plan to repair the dome to ensure that it does not have any harmful effects to the local population, environment or wildlife”.

Additionally, the report must also take stock of the Runit Dome’s structure and how the environmental changes affect it. 

A recent investigative report by a news organisation also revealed that biological weapons were tested on the same ground and around 130 tonnes of soil was shipped from Nevada and Marshall Islands to this region.  

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UN expresses concern over the dome 

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, spoke about the “risk of leaking of radioactive materials" from the structure. These concerns surfaced after Guterres met the Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine in May. 

The defence bill that sought the report was brought forward by the Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. She is also the party of the Presidential race for 2020 elections.  

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In June, Gabbard said, “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.” 

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Tests carried out on Runit Dome 

As per reports, more than 40 nuclear weapons tests have been carried out on the island. These have taken place near the Enewetak Atoll in the Pacific between 1946 and 1958. The crater beneath the dome was used to store the nuclear waste after the tests in the 1970s by the Defense Nuclear Agency.

The dome was later created in the form of thick concrete slabs to protect any kind of leakage. Many reports suggest that there have been various concerns over the structure, suggesting its deterioration because of sea-level rise and climate change. 

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