Nuclear Weapons Testing Has Caused Extreme Cancer Rates In The Marshall Islands To This Day, And There Is A Dome With 73,000 Cubic Meters Of Radioactive Waste That Is Leaking Radiation Into The Ocean
Some people may believe the only time nuclear war happened was Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War 2, but people from the Marshall Islands know that was not the only example of nuclear war in history. As part of the Pacific Proving Grounds nuclear weapons testing campaign 105 atmospheric and underwater nuclear tests were conducted between 1946 and 1962, with 14% of these tests being in the Marshall Islands. Although the Marshall Islands only accounted for 14% of American nuclear tests in the Pacific, the Marshall Islands accounted for 80% of the yields, meaning the strongest nuclear weapons ever created were tested on the Marshall Islands multiple times.
One notable disaster was the Castle Bravo nuclear test. It was supposed to have a yield of 5 megatons, but ended up being a 15 megaton blast, and the ensuing radioactive fallout contaminated inhabited areas of the Marshall Islands, forcing islanders to be evacuated from their homeland for years. When the islanders returned it was discovered that their staple foods were contaminated with radiation, and they had to be evacuated again.
Ultimately almost all of the children on Rongelap Island developed thyroid tumors, and over 1,300 people in the Marshall Islands developed radiation related illnesses.
Beyond the Marshall Islands, the Castle Bravo test spread radiation as far as Europe, Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, so basically the whole world was contaminated with radiation by this single nuclear test.
Further, the effects are being felt to this day in the Marshall Islands, from Castle Bravo and all of the other nuclear tests. Women in the Marshall Islands have a 60 times greater mortality rate from cervical cancer than the United States. Marshall Islanders have a 5 times greater chance of breast and gastrointestinal cancer, a 10 times greater chance of oral cancer, and a three times higher chance of lung cancer.
Literally, the radiation in the Marshall Islands from nuclear weapons testing has permeated the water, air, soil, and food in the Marshall Islands, and this radiation is spreading throughout the Pacific Ocean too.
One particularly hard hit part of the Marshall Islands is Enewetak Atoll, where 6 nuclear weapons tests occurred. An entire island on Enewetak Atoll called Elugelab Island was actually blasted into the stratosphere by a nuclear explosion and totally disappeared.
The United States undertook a $150 million effort to clean up radioactive waste on Enewetak Atoll, mostly because there was so much plutonium laying around in the open that someone could have built a nuclear weapon with it. The government dumped all of the plutonium contaminated soil that they could into a nuclear blast crater, in addition to 437 bags filled with actual plutonium chunks from a failed nuclear weapons test. They then covered this nuclear blast crater filled with radioactive waste with 18 inches of concrete, and it became known as The Tomb aka Runit Dome, since it is on Runit Island.
The government bulldozed the rest of the radioactive waste into the Enewetak Lagoon, since it had too little plutonium to trouble with, even though the Environmental Protection Agency strongly objected.
Of course, the Enewetak Lagoon is not a closed system and connects with the Pacific Ocean at many points, so radiation is continuously leaking into the Pacific Ocean, and radiation from the Enewetak Lagoon has been found 2,800 miles away in the South China Sea.
As if all of that was not bad enough, the government did not properly seal The Tomb, and actually The Tomb does not even meet the safety standards of an average American landfill.
Indeed, The Tomb is steadily cracking open, and the sea level is rising too, and already sea water has leaked into The Tomb, which also means that radioactive seawater is released from The Tomb with the daily tides. It is quite obvious that the next time a Typhoon hits Enewetak Atoll that the 73,000 cubic meters of radioactive waste in The Tomb will be completely discharged into the Pacific Ocean.
Insanely, the Department of Energy says there is nothing to worry about if this happens, since there is so much radiation in the Enewetak Lagoon anyways that the complete collapse of The Tomb will not make much of a difference to the local population of over 600 people.
The truth is that the plutonium in The Tomb has a half life of 24,000 years, and that it is a pretty big deal to dump 73,000 cubic meters of plutonium waste into the Pacific Ocean, since it will poison the ocean for tens of thousands of years. Also, it seems like an impossibly unsafe situation for the local residents of Enewetak Atoll, and of course the government should relocate them and give them a ton of money too, since the cancer rates there are off the charts.
Overall, Enewetak Atoll, The Tomb, and the Marshall Islands are just a small part of the bigger saga of how nuclear weapons testing has poisoned Planet Earth with cancer causing radiation, and this is likely a big part of the reason why cancer rates have soared in modern times.