The latest research reveals that the most exposed places for nuclear radiation are not Chernobyl and Fukushima. Is the Marshall Islands the answer.

The findings of the latest study state that there are parts of the Marshall Islands that are more radioactive than Chernobyl and Fukushima. As reported by CNN, the radiation level is in all parts of the Marshall Islands, Oceania, Pacific Ocean.

Why is that? Because the Marshall Islands were the place where the United States tested nuclear bombs during the Cold War. That resulted in higher radiation levels than areas also contaminated by the nuclear disaster, Chernobyl and Fukushima.

From 1946 to 1958, the US government carried out 67 nuclear tests on several small islands or atolls in the Marshall Islands. The US also relocated the entire population but still made other people affected by cancer because of the radiation.

More than 60 years later, researchers from Columbia University said radiation at the four atolls there remained very high. In some regions, it is even ten to 1,000 times higher than radioactive areas near the Chernobyl power plant that exploded in 1986, and Fukushima due to the effects of the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Bouvet Island, Uninhabited Island in the Middle of the Atlantic Ocean

When analyzing soil samples, the researchers found concentrations of americium-241, cesium- 137, plutonium-238, and plutonium-239,240 on 11 islands in four northern atolls. The population of the Marshall Islands is relatively small.

Some atolls and islands only have a few hundred people. Enewetak Atoll was home to 664 residents in the 2011 census. The Enewetak Atoll and Bikini by researchers were described as ground zero for nuclear tests. The nuclear test at that location was indeed small, ie there were 1,054 total nuclear tests conducted by the US from 1946 to 1992. Coral atolls in the Marshall Islands were able to survive, the researchers said.

Bikini is the largest test site for the US hydrogen bomb known as Bravo Castle in 1954. The explosion was 1,000 times stronger than what was dropped in Japan during World War II.

Bikini Island has the highest radiation levels ever studied, and they recommend that Bikini Island remain uninhabited. Bikini residents were forcibly moved in 1946 and sent to several different islands because of food and water sources.

Researchers say some Bikini people returned to Bikini Island in the late 1960s. That was after the US government declared Bikini safe for resettlement, but they returned from the island due to high levels of radiation exposure. After the US occupation during World War II, these islands became US territory until the late 70s. Now the Marshall Islands are independent states but have a Compact of Free Association with the US.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, high levels of radiation exposure such as those that occur near-atomic explosions can cause skin burns and acute radiation syndromes, that’s radiation sickness. Long-term health effects are cancer and cardiovascular disease.


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