Bikini a bomb tests
Bikini Atoll might sound like an idyllic island getaway, but any visitors would be better off wearing a biohazard suit than swimwear, as the nuclear fallout from tests carried out by the US military over 60 years ago has left parts of the Marshall Islands more radioactive than Chernobyl. In the aftermath of the hydrogen bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki in , the US and Soviet governments entered into a nuclear arms race that became known as the Cold War. Like rival baboons trying to intimidate each other with the size of their bottoms, neither side ever actually pushed the button, but both engaged in some serious nuclear posturing, setting off mushroom clouds in remote testing sites as a display of their might and stupidity. Between and , the US conducted almost 70 nuclear bomb tests in the Marshall Islands, a chain of atolls and volcanic islands in the central Pacific Ocean, roughly halfway between Hawaii and the Philippines. The explosion completely vaporized a nearby artificial island and left a crater measuring 1.
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Bikini Atoll nuclear test: 60 years later and islands still unliveable
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The atoll's inhabitants were relocated in , after which the islands and lagoon were the site of 23 nuclear tests by the United States until Three families were resettled on Bikini island in , totaling about residents. But scientists found dangerously high levels of strontium in well water in May , and the residents were carrying abnormally high concentrations of caesium in their bodies. They were removed in The atoll is occasionally visited today by divers and a few scientists, and is occupied by a handful of caretakers. The island's English name is derived from the German colonial name Bikini given to the atoll when it was part of German New Guinea. Bikini islanders' traditional lifestyle was based on cultivating plants and eating shellfish and fish.
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Nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll
Part of the intense cold war nuclear arms race, the megatonne Bravo test on 1 March was a thousand times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It exposed thousands in the surrounding area to radioactive fallout. Bikini islanders and their descendants have lived in exile since they were moved for the first weapons tests in When US government scientists declared Bikini safe for resettlement some residents were allowed to return in the early s.
The commission appears to have been almost as stunned by the result as the Congressmen who were allowed to watch it. In an interview with the Alsop brothers Mr Petersen said that after a survey of the likely effects of nuclear bombing on the 67 largest American cities, he had concluded that nine million people would be instantly killed and another 22,, would be seriously wounded. This survey was done on the calculation that the worst would happen. So thinks the Pentagon, which has either deduced or learned from the Atomic Energy Commission that the explosion was about three times as powerful as the scientists had anticipated.