NEW YORK,28 AUGUST 2017 (MARIANAS VARIETY) — Guam, not far from Saipan, recently became the centre of the world attention when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump exchanged harsh words over nuclear tests.

Around the same time in New York, concerned citizens and anti-nuclear weapons activists marked the 72nd anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and 9.  

[restrict Advocates of two anti-nuclear organisations made a presentation on July 15 at Mary House in Manhattan prior to the expiration of the Japan-U.S. Nuclear Power Agreement in July 2018. If not challenged, the agreement will be automatically extended for the next 30 years. The two groups are the New York-based Manhattan Project for a Nuclear-Free World and the San Francisco-based REACH-MI or Radiation Exposure Awareness Crusaders for Humanity-Marshall Islands.

Desmond N. Doulatram from the Marshall Islands spoke about the various harmful effects experienced by Marshall Islanders who were exposed to radiation from the 67 atomic tests conducted by the U.S. between 1946 and 1958 on Bikini and Ene Wetak.

Compared to the bombs dropped on Hiroshima (13 kilotons) and Nagasaki (21 kilotons), the combined power of the 12 years of tests was 108 megatons, Doulatram said.

He pointed out that because the U.S. government underestimated the nuclear-affected “time period,” residents had to be re-evacuated after they became sick upon returning to the island.

During the Q&A session later, an audience member brought up another problem caused by the underestimated “affected zone” — the 23 members of the Japanese fishing vessel, Daigo Fukuryu Maru, who were exposed to the nuclear fallout even though the ship was outside the designated danger zone. Some of those crew members have continued to suffer from the nuclear fallout until today.

The Japan-U.S. Nuclear Energy Agreement (the agreement between the governments of Japan and the United States for cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy) was enacted in July 1988 to be in effect for 30 years.

Before the agreement is automatically renewed, the Manhattan Project for a Nuclear-Free World and REACH-MI seek to raise awareness of its implications.

Mari Inoue, an attorney at law and Rachel Clark, an interpreter and peace advocate, voiced their concerns. They are not only worried about promoting nuclear energy in Japan because of the higher risk of earthquakes, referring in this context to the Fukushima accident.

“We are worried about security of Japan’s stockpile of 48 tons of separated plutonium in addition to the start-up of the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant, which is scheduled for late 2018.”

If the agreement is extended, Japan will continue to reprocess spent fuel, which, according to them, is not allowed in any other non-nuclear weapon country. The current agreement is a continuation of the 1958 Japan-U.S. Power Agreement, which promised the provision of enriched uranium for research and power test furnaces.

The agreement was revised in 1958 and 1963, and the current revision became effective in 1988. This agreement can be terminated if notice is given six months prior to its expiration.

The name “Manhattan Project for a Nuclear-Free World” was intentionally chosen as a reminder that the group’s mission is to undo the efforts of the “Manhattan Project,” which successfully tested the world’s first atomic bomb by U.S. scientists and engineers on July 16, 1945.

“We are Manhattan residents who are educators, health workers, artists, and lawyers with a common goal of better understanding the cost, risks, and moral aspect of nuclear power,” said Inoue and Clark.

Doulatram’s presentation included slides showing the 1954 “Bravo” experiment which had about 1,000 times the power of Hiroshima.

According to the US Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, 6.3 billion curie of radiation was generated by the nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands, a much larger amount than the 190 million curie produced by the above-ground testing in Nevada.

Doulatram also pointed out that the United Nations was helpless despite the fact that Marshallese actively petitioned the world body to end the nuclear weapons testing programme in the 1950s.

Henry Kissinger was quoted as saying “They [the Marshallese] are only 90,000 people out there who gives a damn!”

Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., the U.S. representative to the U.N. at the time, said, “We don’t consult the United Nations, we inform.”.PACNEWS [/restrict]