Nuclear Testing Chronology: 1980's-1990's

March - The U.S. Defense Nuclear Agency announces that the Enewetak nuclear cleanup is completed. The estimated cost of the cleanup and rehabilitation was $218 million. Enewetak Islanders begin returning home to the southern islands in the atoll.


The Bikinians file a class action law suit against the U.S. government in U.S. courts seeking $450 million in compensation. Attorneys for the Marshall Islands Atomic Testing Litigation Project file lawsuits on behalf of several thousand Marshall Islanders seeking about $4 billion in compensation from the United States for personal injuries from the nuclear testing.

The U.S. establishes a second trust fund of $20 million for the Bikini people. Later, it will increase this with an additional $90 million appropriation in the late 1980s.

Compact of Free Association is approved in a plebiscite by about 60 percent of Marshal Islands voters. The Compact includes a Section 177 trust fund of $150 million that is to provide $270 million in compensation payments over the 15 year life of the Compact (Bikini $75 million; Enewetak $48; Rongelap $37 million; Utrik $22 million; Nuclear Claims Tribunal $45 million; $2 million annually for medical care for the "four atolls" 53 million for a nationwide radiological survey; etc.).



March - In a statement delivered to Rep John Seiberling, chairman of the subcommittee on public lands and national parks, Dr. Thomas Hamilton states: "I have performed examinations on over 7,000 people from the northern atolls and from three southern atolls...There are several northern atolls in which the prevalence rates of thyroid neoplasia (benign and malignant) are equal to or greater than those observed by Brookhaven on Utrok Atoll where the radiation dose is known."

May - Rongelap people evacuate their atoll, moving to Mejatto, a small island in the northwestern section of Kwajalein Atoll. Rongelap leaders say they fear that continued residence on Rongelap will expose them to dangerous levels of radiation.  The Greenpeace ship "Rainbow Warrior" [below] as seen in early June 1985 during the third leg of the Rongelap evacuation and re-location to Mejato Island in Kwajalen Atoll due to lingering fears of radiation on Rongelap.


















































The U.S. Congress approves the Compact of Free Association. The Compact includes an espousal provision, prohibiting Marshall Islanders from seeking future legal redress in U.S. courts and dismissing all current court cases in exchange for a $150 million compensation trust fund. October The Compact between America and the Marshall Islands goes into effect.


Former Senator and Health Minister of the RMI Jeton Anjain led the                people of Rongelap in their decision to evacuate their homeland of 2,000         years in 1985 with the help of Greenpeace.  Based on a Dept. of Energy           report in 1980 Sen. Anjain concluded that Rongelap was no longer safe to     live on, and moved the Rongelap community to an island in Kawjalain Atoll 

Rongelap Senator Jeton Anjain, winner of the 1992 prestigious "Goldman Prize."

Sitting aboard the Greenpeace ship "Rainbow Warrior" [two months before the French DGS&E blew it up, killing a crew member] Sen. Anjain plans the next phase of the 1985 Rongelap evacuation and relocation to Mejato in Kwajalein.


August - The Nuclear Claims Tribunal approves its first compensation awards, based on a list of health conditions presumed to be caused by radiation, and therefore eligible for compensation. Because of concerns that the $45 million available may not be adequate to pay all claims, the Tribunal limits initial payments to 25 percent of the total awards.

January - U.S. Rep. George Miller writes to President Bill Clinton: "Some Rongelapese have said they believe they were used as 'guinea pigs' to further U.S. understanding of the effects of radiation on humans. In light of recent disclosures regarding actual radiation experimentation in the United States during this period, that possibility cannot be ignored." He also comments on an ongoing thyroid study in the Marshalls. "The findings of the thyroid survey are disturbing. The Committee has been informed that even if only 50 percent of the survey results are verified...the incidence rate is still significantly higher, by a factor of 100, than the rate of thyroid cancer found anywhere else in the world." The U.S. Department of Energy begins releasing thousands of previously classified nuclear test era documents, many of which confirm the wider extent of the fallout contamination in the Marshall Islands.

​July - U.S. Representatives George Miller and Ron de Lugo write to Dr. Ruth Faden, chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments: "...There is no doubt that the AEC intentionally returned (Marshallese) to islands which it considered to be "by far the most contaminated places in the world,' but which it told the people were safe. Nor is there any doubt that the AEC, through the Brookhaven National Laboratory, then planned and conducted test after test on these people to study their bodies' reaction to life in that contaminated environment. "

December - A five-year study of 432 islands in the Marshall Islands shows that 15 atolls and single islands -almost half of this nation were dusted by radioactive fallout from the U.S. nuclear weapons tests of the 1950s. However, the Nationwide Radiological Survey -funded by the U.S. and conducted by the Marshall Islands government -states that with the exception of islands in Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Rongerik, "the amount of radioactivity remaining in the environment has diminished to levels that are not of concern."

Paul C. Warnke, formerly the chief nuclear arms negotiator for the U.S. who held other high level positions for the State Department, states his support for additional compensation, observing that Marshall Islands negotiators of the Compact were unaware of the magnitude of radiation problems in the Marshall Islands when they negotiated compensation levels with the United States.

Paul C. Warnke at the United Nations

This website is designed to give voice to the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands [RMI] who have firsthand knowledge - in their bodies and DNA, in their memories and permanently in their atolls - of thermonuclear weapons and their destruction, having been at the receiving end of the United States' "foreign policy."'s primary mission is to provide a repository of the unfiltered history of the relationship between the U.S. and RMI through an archive of audio interviews [in both Marshallese and English*] on SoundCloud (previously unavailable to the public) and photographs of downwind Marshall Islanders who were caught in the radioactive fallout from the 67 atomic & hydrogen thermonuclear bombs detonated at Bikini and Enewetak Atolls between 1946-58.


In addition to these rare and powerful interviews conducted between 1981 and 2002 [by Glenn Alcalay & Kai Erikson], numerous unclassified U.S. government documents, U.N. testimonies, NGO reports, and other educational materials regarding nuclear testing issues in the Marshall Islands will also be made available to the public.  Lastly, a large archive of videos and documentary films about the Nuclear Age, from the Manhattan Project to Weapons in Space will be made available.

Our website is dedicated to aolep dri-Majol, people of the Marshall Islands - especially the youth - and all of the glorious people who reside on our dear Mother Earth.  If there is a theme or a meme that truly captures the character and the spirit of this website, it is this:  America nuked the Gentle People.

Glenn Alcalay

Peace Corps Volunteer, Utrok Atoll 1975-1977

Jeramman wot!

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Glenn Alcalay & Andrew Fuchs

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