Scientific discoveries that allowed the use of radioactive elements not only in theory but also in practice, has allowed people to create a powerful reactors and advanced nuclear weapons. However, despite significant benefits of these discoveries, mankind is constantly making their destructive contribution to the environment. Recent studies of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific proved that they are still significantly radioactive than Chernobyl and Fukushima, even though it’s been more than 60 years after conducting nuclear tests. The results of testing the soil on some Islands showed that the level of availability of plutonium — 239 and 240 in the 10-1000 times higher than at Fukushima, where an earthquake and tsunami led to the destruction of the nuclear reactors.
As tested atom bombs?
The dropping of the bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 was the actual end of the Second world war. Despite this, the United States was interested in continued testing of radioactive weapons, causing a number of such tests fell in the Marshall Islands, which are presented in the form of a chain of Islands between Hawaii and the Philippines.
The first two bombs was named Able and Baker, which were subsequently tested at Bikini Atoll in 1946, in time to lay a Foundation for a 12-year period of nuclear testing on the atolls of Bikini and enewetak, which tested 67 nuclear weapons.
On the enewetak Atoll in 1951, the first ever test of a hydrogen bomb, which was code named Ivy Mike. Was later conducted the largest test of a hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll in 1954. The “hero” of the day was the bomb, which was 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic Little Boy that destroyed Hiroshima.
Scientists say that in addition to the contamination of the atolls of Bikini and enewetak, the consequences of nuclear testing also had an impact on people living in the atolls Rongelap and Utirik, which are also part of the Marshall Islands.
What could be the consequences of testing nuclear bombs?
A team of scientists from Columbia University published the results of several studies that were conducted on the atolls of the Northern Marshall Islands: Bikini, enewetak, Rongelap and Utirik. External levels of gamma radiation was significantly increased at Bikini Atoll and enewetak, as well as on the Islands Engebi and Naen, compared to Islands in the South, the Marshall Islands, which were used as control points.
As stated in the source Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists have discovered that the Islands and Engebi of Runit in the enewetak Atoll, and the Islands of Bikini and Naen in the soil contains high concentrations of certain radioactive isotopes, however, all four Islands have exceeded the level of radioactive plutonium, the amount of which was significantly higher than was detected in Fukushima and Chernobyl.
In the ongoing research, the scientists worked with professional divers who collected 130 soil samples from the Castle Bravo crater at Bikini Atoll. In the result, it was found that the level of the isotopes plutonium — 239 and 240, americium — 241 bismuth — 207 was significantly higher than the levels of the same substances that were found in other Marshall Islands. Researchers believe that these measurements of radioactive contamination is important for assessing the impact on ocean ecosystems.
Scientists are convinced that in order to protect the local population, constantly exposed to harmful radiation exposure, the government should take additional measures to inform people who live in the Marshall Islands. According to recent studies of local vegetation, fruit and vegetables grown on contaminated Islands, have elevated levels of radioactive contamination, endangering the life of the local population.