Marshallese poet draws attention to nuclear dome via RadioNZ

A Marshall Islands poet has highlighted climate change, nuclear destruction and waste in a poem about a dome on Runit Island.

After the second World War, the US tested 67 nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands and dumped its nuclear waste there afterwards.

The poet, Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, said she was shocked to read a US Department of Energy report detailing its decision to dump the waste on Runit Island, which is part of Enewetak Atoll.

The waste was sealed into the concrete dome that still stands on the now abandoned island.

The report documented how officials knew waves might wash over the dome but decided that as the lagoon was already contaminated, it didn’t matter if the testing crater were to leak, Ms Jetñil-Kijiner said.

“Runit is the perfect example of the intersection between nuclear and climate issues. We don’t need to separate the two. It’s impossible to. Every time we enter conversations on climate change, as a Marshall Islands person, we are entering it with our culture, with our history behind us and we are entering it with this nuclear legacy as a part of our experience,” she said.

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