Bikini Atoll (Marshallese: Pikinni, meaning 'coconut place') is a small, 23 island, atoll in the Marshall Islands. The island is the north-eastern most and largest islet of the group. Before World War II, the atoll was known by it's Baltic dialect German name as Escholtz Atoll, since it became a German colony 1874. It's native food plants including coconuts, pandanus, papaya, banana, arrowroot, taro, limes, breadfruit, and pumpkin. A wide variety of other trees, birds, fish, insects and plants are also present on the islands.
- 500- the native Pacific Islanders
- 1526- Spain
- 1874- Germany
- 1914- Japan
- 1946- USA
- In 1979, the Government of the Marshall Islands was officially established and the country became self-governing.
- In 1986, the Compact of Free Association with the United States entered into force, granting the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) its sovereignty. The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 21.
The Baker Nuclear Test at Bikini Atoll on July 1946 was a shallow underwater explosion and part of Operation Crossroads. A 20-21 kiloton warhead was detonated in a lagoon which was approximately 200ft (61m) deep.
The Castle Bravo blast was one of a serine using a new design utilizing a dry fuel type thermonuclear hydrogen bomb. It was detonated at dawn on March 1, 1954. As it exploded, it burnt up the Japanese fishing boat Daigo Fukuryū Maru, serverly injuring the crew!
Several more tests would occur over the next few decades, ruining several islands as they did so. A few island were even completely vaporised as well!
The heavy nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll program was a series of 23 nuclear devices detonated by the United States between 1946 and 1958 at seven test sites on the reef itself, on the sea, in the air and underwater. The test weapons produced a combined fission yield of 42.2 Mt of explosive power.
On March 20, 1978, Undersecretary James A. Joseph of the U.S. Department of the Interior reported that radiation levels, from Operation Crossroads and other atomic tests conducted in the 1940s and 1950s on Bikini Atoll, were still too high and that island natives that returned to Bikini would once again have to be relocated. In September 1979, a delegation from the Bikini/Kili Council came to Wake Island to assess the island's potential as a possible resettlement site. The delegation also traveled to Hawaii (Molokai and Hilo), Palmyra Atoll and various atolls in the Marshall Islands including Mili, Knox, Jaluit, Ailinglaplap, Erikub and Likiep but the group agreed that they were only interested in resettlement on Wake Island due to the presence of the U.S. military and the island's proximity to Bikini Atoll. Unfortunately for the Bikini Islanders, the U.S. Department of Defense responded that "any such resettlement is out of the question."
After a later test, The whole of Rongelap Atoll was coated with up to 2 centimetres (0.79 in) of snow-like irradiated calcium debris and ash. The islanders were moved to Kwajalein Atoll. They were all given generous heath cover in case of accidental bomb test injuries, but both island's fisheries were ruined from the early 1950's to the late 1970's. All this radiation swilling around the high sea caused much concern at the time.
Most weponolagists, scientists and politicians on both sides found this level of collateral damage frightening.
The Baker test's radioactive contamination of both it's steam cloud and all the target ships in the test range was the first case of immediate, concentrated radioactive contamination and fallout from a nuclear explosion. This was followed by a series of later tests that eventually left the island contaminated with radioactivity, particularly Caesium-137, which made it uninhabitable, save for a failed recolonisation in 1977-78. In the May of 1977 scientists found dangerously high levels of strontium-90 in the well water exceeding the U.S. maximum allowed limits. Birth defects, radiation sicness and still births had plagued the colonists, who soon left. It was deserted until the mid 1990's when a few brief visits were allowed.
An air burst (that is, a nuclear detonation far above the surface) can eventually produce worldwide fallout. A ground burst can produce possibly much more severe, but local fallout.
Parts of the sea bottom may become fallout. After the Castle Bravo test, white dust—contaminated calcium oxide particles originating from pulverized and calcined corals—fell for several hours, causing beta burns and radiation exposure to the inhabitants of the nearby atolls and the crew of the Daigo Fukuryū Maru fishing boat. The scientists called the fallout "Bikini snow".
As far as I can tell visitors can stay on the island for a few days after recent tests had shown all the Caesium-137 had sunk deep in to the ground. The only major problem is not eating the coconuts since the Caesium-137 is now concentrating it's self in the trees roots and thus contaminating them and thus their coconuts!
The local radio station
The local America SW station Radio Bikini was a early to mid 1950's American military radio station for the troops and locals that lived on and around the island.
The feature film
The film Radio Bikini was a 1988 American documentary directed by Robert Stone about the early nuclear tests of the late 1940s.
- Ivy Mike
- Tsar Bomba
- Operation Ivy
- Castle Romeo
- Kwajalein Atoll
- Nuclear fallout
- Enewetak Atoll
- Operation Able
- Operation Castle
- Castle Bravo test
- Operation Redwing
- Operation Hardtack
- Castle Bravo test blast miscalculation
- Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
- A nuclear\atomic holocaust or nuclear apocalypse
- Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Attempted nuclear war simulation)