The National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 includes a provision that requires the Department of Energy to come up with a report on the status of the Marshall Islands’ Runit Dome.
U.S. President Donald J. Trump signed the 2020 NDAA on Dec. 20.
The Runit Dome on Enewetak Atoll was built to contain nuclear waste after U.S. nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific in the 1940s and 1950s. There have been reports that radioactive waste could be leaking from the enclosed concrete structure into the ocean.
The specific provision in the 2020 NDAA requires the Secretary of Energy to submit the report to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and House of Representatives within 180 days of its enactment.
As required by the 2020 NDAA, the report should have an assessment of the following: the current condition of the outer constructs of the dome; current and long-term safety to local humans posed by the site, and; how rising sea levels might affect the dome.
It should also include the dome’s effects on the environment, and its projected effects in 5, 10, and 20 years.
The report should also include a detailed plan to repair the dome to ensure that it does not have any harmful effects to the local population, environment, or wildlife. This includes the projected costs of implementing the plan.
In response, RMI Ambassador to the United States H.E. Gerald M. Zackios said in release, “The passage of the law is a step forward in our continued efforts to fully address the nuclear legacy that has been a source of anguish for our people. We look forward to reading the report to fully gauge the results and will reassess our way forward based on the new information.”
Zackios continued: “I want to thank our friends and allies in the US Congress who continue to take up our nuclear legacy cause. They continue to be great partners and advocates for the RMI.”