REAL: Rising seas caused by climate change are seeping inside a United States nuclear waste dump on a remote and low-lying Pacific atoll, flushing out radioactive substances left behind from some of the world’s largest atomic weapons tests. Source: abc.net.au/news
“We call it the tomb,” says Christina Aningi, the head teacher of Enewetak’s only school.
“The children understand that we have a poison in our island.”
It’s “Manit Day” on Enewetak Atoll, a celebration of Marshall Islands culture when the Pacific nation’s troubled past seems a distant memory.
Schoolchildren sit cross-legged on the coral sands as they sing of the islands and atolls, the sunshine and the breeze; “flowers and moonlight, swaying palm trees”.
They were born decades after the last nuclear explosion ripped through the warm Pacific air with a thunderous roar. But it’s hard to escape the long echo of the bombs.
“Gone are the days when we live in fear, fear of the bombs, guns and nuclear,” they sing.
“This is the time … this is my country, this is my land.”
But those old fears, thought to be long buried, are threatening to reawaken in their island paradise.
On an atoll in the far-flung west of the Marshall Islands, halfway between Australia and Hawaii, sits “the dome”.
Approaching from the water, it’s hard to appreciate the true scale of the concrete vault, with its shallow profile obscured by palm trees and scrub.
But from the air it looks like a giant flying saucer has crashed on the tip of a deserted island. Source: joboneforhumanity
Thousands of cubic metres of radioactive waste lies buried under a concrete dome on the Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the legacy of over a decade of US nuclear tests in the Pacific. Now rising sea levels are threatening to spill its contents into the sea. Read more here: ab.co/2BdJKCz
Forgotten Nuclear Waste Dump in the Pacific – by Michael B. Gerrard – Testing Exposure, Illness, Death and Forgotten
During the Cold War the United States detonated sixty-seven nuclear weapons over the atolls of Bikini and Enewetak in the Marshall Islands. In the late 1970s the United States addressed the massive amount of residual contamination by abandoning Bikini as permanently uninhabitable and pushing much of the waste at Enewetak into the open lagoon. Much of the plutonium was dumped into the crater that had been left by an atomic bomb explosion, and then covered with a thin shell of cement. The resultant “Runit dome” sits unmarked and unguarded in a small island and one day will be submerged by the rising waters of the Pacific Ocean, unless it is first torn apart by typhoons. Radiation from the Marshall Islands has already been detected in the South China Sea. Using the experience of the Marshall Islands as a case study, this article seeks to shed light on the environmental and security challenges of nuclear waste disposal in the Pacific and beyond.
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wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear… The nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll program was a series of 23 nuclear devices detonated by the United States between 1946 and 1958 at seven test sites on the reef itself, on the sea, in the air and underwater. The test weapons produced a combined fission yield of 42.2 Mt of explosive power. The testing began with the Operation Crossroads series in July 1946. The Baker test’s radioactive contamination of all the target ships was the first case of immediate, concentrated radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion. Chemist Glenn T. Seaborg, the longest-serving chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, called Baker “the world’s first nuclear disaster.”
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operati… Operation Crossroads was a pair of nuclear weapon tests conducted by the United States at Bikini Atoll in mid-1946. They were the first nuclear weapon tests since Trinity in July 1945, and the first detonations of nuclear devices since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The purpose of the tests was to investigate the effect of nuclear weapons on warships. The Crossroads tests were the first of many nuclear tests held in the Marshall Islands, and the first to be publicly announced beforehand and observed by an invited audience, including a large press corps. They were conducted by Joint Army/Navy Task Force One, headed by Vice Admiral William H. P. Blandy, rather than by the Manhattan Project, which had developed nuclear weapons during World War II. A fleet of 95 target ships was assembled in Bikini Lagoon and hit with two detonations of Fat Man plutonium implosion-type nuclear weapons of the kind dropped on Nagasaki, each with a yield of 23 kilotons of TNT (96 TJ). The first test was Able. The bomb, named Gilda after Rita Hayworth’s character in the 1946 eponymous film, was dropped from the B-29 Superfortress Dave’s Dream of the 509th Bombardment Group on July 1, 1946, and detonated 520 feet (158 m) above the target fleet. It caused less than the expected amount of ship damage because it missed its aim point by 2,130 feet (649 m). The second test was Baker. The bomb, known as Helen of Bikini, was detonated 90 feet (27 m) underwater on July 25, 1946. Radioactive sea spray caused extensive contamination. A third deep water test, Charlie, planned for 1947, was canceled primarily because of the United States Navy’s inability to decontaminate the target ships after the Baker test. Ultimately, only nine target ships were able to be scrapped rather than scuttled. Charlie was rescheduled as Operation Wigwam, a deep water shot conducted in 1955 off the California coast. Bikini’s native residents agreed to evacuate the island, with most moving to the Rongerik Atoll. Later, in the 1950s, a series of large thermonuclear tests rendered Bikini unfit for subsistence farming and fishing. Chemist Glenn T. Seaborg, the longest-serving chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, called Baker “the world’s first nuclear disaster.”