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Nuclear threat in the Pacific: It’s not what you think



Nuclear threat in the Pacific It's not what you think

Radiation is contaminating the Pacific Ocean and it’s not from a nuke launched by North Korea. It’s from tests done by the United States in the Marshall Islands between 1946-1958.

Mushroom Cloud

The Los Angeles Times has an article which does a yeoman’s job describing the origin and nature of the situation and how it affects the original inhabitants of these small Pacific atolls.

High radiation levels found in giant clams of Marshall Islands near U.S. nuclear dump

What we need to do here is to consider how far reaching the threat is both within and beyond the Marshall Islands which lie some 2,700 miles southwest of Hawaii in the tropical North Pacific Ocean.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser article:

Coast Guard ends one search, responds to Chinese-flagged fishing vessel in Marshall Islands

Grounded Chinese Fishing Vessel

Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew flies over the 308-foot Chinese-flagged commercial fish carrier Ou Ya Leng No. 6 on Taka Atoll in the Marshall Islands, Jan. 3, 2019 MHT.

The Coast Guard said the Ou Ya Leng No. 6, a fishing ship targeting squid, was operating in Marshall Islands territorial seas.

This Chinese fishing vessel ran aground about 400 miles east of Enewetak and Runit Atolls with Bikini Atoll about halfway in between. That is where the major blasts occurred during U.S. nuclear testing in the 1940s and 1950s.

Runit Dome

Recently Chinese Maritime Militia vessels have been harvesting giant clams in disputed areas of the South China Sea. If they were doing the same in waters contaminated by radioactivity in the Marshall Islands, that could turn out to be a long-term spread of contamination in which the Chinese got more than they bargained for by poaching in Marshall Islands sovereign seas.

Giant Clam

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is part of the former United States Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands. So are Federated States of Micronesia and Palau. Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are still current U.S. territories in the Western Pacific.

Marshall Islands and Pacific

The capital of RMI is Majuro Atoll.

Majuro Atoll

Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site is on Kwajalein Atoll.  This is just a few hundred miles south of the contaminated areas from the nuke tests.


Some 500 miles northwest of Enewetak is the U.S. territory of Wake Island which contains missile defense systems that guard against North Korean launches.

Wake Island

It is not possible to say exactly where ocean currents could take radioactivity leaked from the faulty storage dome. It is even conceivable that it could reach the shores of all the Hawaiian Islands.

Map of Ocean Currents

The people of the Marshall Islands continue to be endangered from radioactivity resulting from American nuclear tests in the decade and a half after World War II.

Sensitive United States military installations in and near the Marshall Islands are also potentially threatened.

Hawaii could be at risk as could Guam and CNMI. If Hawaii Emergency Management Agency does not yet have a threat assessment and risk mitigation strategy, now is not too soon to start preparing one.

U.S. Department of the Interior, Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs along with United States Indo-Pacific Command need to apprise the public of all that is being done to contain radioactivity in the Marshall Islands.

In the early 1980s, soil from Enewetak Atoll was flown to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for analysis. Tell us what has been done since then.

With the nuclear bombs being detonated on Bikini Atoll, some may wonder in retrospect whether the small speck of land barely above sea level was named for the scanty swimsuit. Actually, it was the other way around. Those marketing the swimsuit wanted to attribute to it an “atomic” impact.

Bikini Bomb

Let’s hope we have moved beyond the callous insensitivity that sought to make money without respect for those who suffered radiation sickness and those who were permanently dislocated from their homes on a formerly idyllic atoll surrounded by deep blue skies and deep blue waters. For those still living and their descendants, there is no going home because their home was destroyed.

Bikini Island Cemetary

NOQ Report will continue to monitor this developing threat of nuclear contamination in the Pacific Basin.

Bikini Island

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