MARSHALLS TO GO AHEAD WITH NUCLEAR WASTE PLANS

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SUVA --Greenpeace is disappointed the Marshall Islands government has decided to go ahead with a feasibility study to establish a nuclear waste facility on one of its islands.

Marshall Islands cabinet minister, Litokwa Tomeing, announced Thursday that a US company, a subsidiary of Babcock and Wilcox, has been hired to conduct a feasibility study which is expected to take two years to complete.

Greenpeace's Bunny McDiarmid said conducting a feasibility study does not make a bad idea into a good one. "Storing nuclear waste on a low lying coral atoll in a region prone to cyclones and considered the most vulnerable to climate change is not solving the world's nuclear was problem," she said.

The Marshall Islands is the only county in the region that has not signed the Waigani Convention that bans the import of radioactive waste into Pacific Islands countries.

The Marshalls government has responded to regional and local opposition by giving assurances that a local referendum would be conducted as well as a feasibility study. The referendum is still to be carried out.

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