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Radiation compensation plan considered via Kuam News

Over a decade ago a blue ribbon panel was formed at the request of the Guam Legislature. Their mission was to study in-depth radioactive contamination in Guam between 1946 to 1958. This time period is crucial because this was around the same time the United States military was conducting nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands.

In November 2012 the blue ribbon panel completed an action report that determined the military “put the population of Guam in harm’s way knowingly and with total disregard for there well being”. The report also stated “what was perpetrated against this region was the largest ecological disaster in human history.” But despite that report, Guam continues to fight for compensation under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. That effort continued at the Guam Legislature this afternoon. The report and other studies that have been conducted on the matter have determined that there is a correlation between the nuclear testing and high incidences of cancer in Guam, which is the second leading cause of death locally.
Robert Celestial is the president of the Pacific Atomic Radiation Survivors, and testified before the Legislature, citing a study that shows how Guam was affected. “The study was made back in 2000/2001,” he shared. “A report was made by the National Academy of Science – they just gave a broad eligibility conclusion that the residents of Guam during that time were exposed to high levels of radiation from the fallout.” And according to Celestial, this information was kept classified until 1998. “The people of Guam were affected by the nuclear fallout and that the residents during that time period are eligible to receive compensation in accordance with the law right now that has been passed,” he added.

He is referring to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, which provides up to $150,000 to victims of radiation. Although Guam residents should be eligible to receive compensation, they are not. Yet Resolution 994, and Bill 331 – recently introduced in the US Congress and Senate, respectively – would amend federal law, to include island residents.

Celestial said, “Eligibility is anyone who was in Guam from 1946 to 1962; only have to prove that they were here, and they have one of 21 types of cancers, and the amendment would have $50,000 to $150,000 and free medical care.”

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