Greenland Seeks Health Check on Citizens from Missing Nuclear Bomb

by VR Sreeraman on Nov 15 2008 11:51 AM

Greenland is to ask for health checks on people living where a US nuclear bomb was lost under the ice in the Danish protectorate more than 40 years ago, a senior official said Friday.

"It's not a question for us of finding the 'criminal' who lost it ... but of concern for the impact on the health of the Inuits living at Thule," Lars-Emil Johansen told AFP.

Johansen is one of Greenland's two top envoys in Denmark and heads the parliamentary commission handling the affairs of the huge ice-covered Arctic island.

His comments followed a report this week by the BBC that one of four bombs had never been recovered after a B-52 aircraft crashed at Thule in January 1968.

Officials said Tuesday that there was nothing new in the report, based on declassified documents obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act, adding that there had been "no risk" to the environment.

But Johansen said, "There were a heap of inquiries into the marine environment, the fish and the mammals, but very little on land among the inhabitants.

"It's time to show interest in human beings as well."

Johansen, a former head of Greenland's government, said he had expressed his views to Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, who had been summoned to respond to the parliamentary commission at a date yet to be fixed.