Radiation levels on Bikini Island are up to 1,000 times higher than samples from areas affected by the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power plant disasters, newly published research on the Marshall Islands shows.
Several new studies were published Monday by the US National Academy of Sciences based on research conducted by scientists with Columbia University in New York who visited Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utrok over the past several years.
An island in the northern part of Rongelap Atoll, Naen, showed plutonium and other long-lived radioactive material at levels “higher in all cases than concentrations in the Bikini samples,” said the studies.
Enjebi and other islands in Enewetak showed continuing high radiation levels, although Utrok Atoll did not.
Key recommendations from the scientists included in the report:
• “The radiation levels on Bikini Island, which served as the primary island for habitation on the atoll before and in the aftermath of the testing, are too high for relocation to Bikini.”
• “Given the lifestyle of people living on remote atolls, it appears to us that clean-up of Naen, and possibly other northern Rongelap Atoll islands, would be needed before full atoll resettlement can be envisioned.”
• “Residents of southern islands in the Enewetak Atoll should also be warned against spending time on northern islands, including Enjebi Island.”
The Los Angeles Times featured the new reports in an article earlier this week. “The study’s authors note there’s one big difference between the Marshall Islands and other high-profile contaminated sites,” reported the LA Times. “At Chernobyl and Fukushima, there are active government efforts to keep people away from the contaminated reactors, whereas islands such as Bikini and Naen are easily accessible by the Marshallese.”
Read more about this in the July 19, 2019 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.