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Some of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean — such as the Bikini and Enewetak atolls — are still more radioactive than Chernobyl and Fukushima, even though more than 60 years have passed since the United States tested radioactive weapons there, a new study finds.
When testing the soil for plutonium-239+240, the researchers found that some of the islands had levels that were between 10 and 1,000 times higher than those on Fukushima (where an earthquake and tsunami led to the meltdown of nuclear reactors) and about 10 times higher than levels in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
Bombs - Cities - Hiroshima - Nagasaki - World
After dropping atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, effectively ending World War II, the United States decided to test more radioactive weapons. Some of these tests happened in the Marshall Islands, a chain of islands between Hawaii and the Philippines that was then a district of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands — run by the U.S. on behalf of the United Nations. The first two bombs — called Able and Baker — were tested on Bikini Atoll in 1946 and kicked off a 12-year period of nuclear testing on the Bikini and Enewetak atolls, during which the U.S. tested 67 nuclear weapons.
The first-ever hydrogen bomb test, with the code name Ivy Mike, was tested on Enewetak in 1951. The U.S. conducted its largest hydrogen bomb test on Bikini Atoll — the 1954 Castle Bravo bomb, which was more than 1,000 times more powerful than "Little Boy," the uranium weapon that decimated Hiroshima.
Team - Studies - Online - Yesterday - July
Now, that same team has written three new studies, published online yesterday (July 15) in the journal PNAS, on four of the atolls in the northern Marshall islands: Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utirik.
External gamma radiation levels were significantly elevated on Bikini Atoll; on Enjebi Island...
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