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Marshalls still to decide on UN nuke ban treaty

Staff Writer |
Six Pacific nations are expected to sign a United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons when it opens for signature later this week, but the Marshall Islands won't be one of them.

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The Bravo hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954 was the largest U.S. nuclear weapons test ever conducted.

The 15 megaton blast exposed thousands of Marshall Islanders and Americans to radioactive fallout.

The Bravo hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954 was the largest U.S. nuclear weapons test ever conducted. The 15 megaton blast exposed thousands of Marshall Islanders and Americans to radioactive fallout.

Tim Wright, the Asia Pacific Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said that the island countries that have said they would sign the treaty this week include Palau, Fiji, Samoa, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine said her government was still considering whether to sign the treaty.

This is despite the Marshall Islands ambassador to the UN, Amatlain Kabua, earlier this year joining with representatives of over 120 nations who voted in favour of the UN resolution supporting the treaty.

Concern over ocean pollution is likely to dominate a key meeting of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme starting in Apia tomorrow.

The issue, in its many forms, was raised at both the Noumea and Waigani conference of the parties meetings last week.

A transport storage cask for the return of high activity waste from reprocessing is loaded onto the BBC Shanghai cargo ship in Cherbourg-Octeville.

The vessel is to deliver nuclear waste back to Australia after its reprocessing in France.

The SPREP Director General, Kosi Latu, confirmed those concerns, saying the long standinag worry about the transportation of nuclear waste through the Pacific would be on the agenda at the 28th meeting of officials in Samoa.

"We don't know when these shipments happen and often we require prior notification, so we are aware of where these shipments are going and where they are coming from," Mr Latu said.

"And it can get very political. But that has been a concern for a very, very long time."


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