Highest Level of Radiation Is Found At Marshall Island

Radiation levels around parts of the Marshall Islands within the Pacific Ocean, where the USA tested nuclear bombs throughout the Cold War, are higher than areas contaminated by the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters, a new analysis suggests.

From 1946 to 1958, the US government performed 67 nuclear tests on several small islands — referred to as atolls — within the Marshall Islands.

The US government relocated entire populations and exposed others to cancer and illness-causing radiation.

More than 60 years later, researchers at Columbia University say radiation on four of those atolls stays alarmingly high — in some areas 10 to 1,000 times higher than radioactive regions close to the Chernobyl powerplant, which exploded in 1986, and Fukushima, where an earthquake and tsunami caused a nuclear disaster in 2011.

Analyzing soil samples, researchers discovered concentrations of americium-241, cesium-137, plutonium-238, and plutonium-239,240 on 11 islands throughout the four northern atolls.

The population of the Marshall Islands is comparatively small, with just over 75,000 folks living on the chains as of July 2018. It’s a combination of islands and atolls, which are often circular islands ringing a vast lagoon or coral reef.

Among the atolls and islands have just a few hundred folks on them. Enewetak Atoll was home to only 664 individuals within the 2011 census.

Enewetak was one of two atolls, together with Bikini, which have been described by researchers as “ground zero” for the nuclear tests.

An untested theory for the high levels of radiation on Naen could possibly be that the island may have been used as a dumping ground for some of the waste from the cleanup on Rongelap, researchers recommend.

printing their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, researchers stated they aimed to current a view of the current “radiological situations” on the impacted atolls, focusing on uninhabited islands which can be often used as food sources.