Bikini Atoll Today
Bikini Atoll: The Aftereffect of the U.S. Government’s Nuclear Testing
U.S. nuclear testing in the 1940s and 1950s contaminated Bikini Atoll and Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands with radiation.
Radioactive fallout has affected the geology of the area, as well as made the area unsafe for human resettlement.
Huge swaths of coral reef, plants, land, and three of the 23 original islands within Bikini Atoll have been obliterated as a result of the nuclear bombs detonated in the region. Bokonijien, Aerokojlol, and Nam were vaporized during the testing.
To this day, any food grown in the contaminated soil is hazardous. Consuming fruits and vegetables grown on the atoll will result in radiation exposure. Interestingly, the fish in the lagoon are now deemed safe to eat.
Recent determinations have allowed for some economic opportunity for Bikini islanders who relocated due to the nuclear testing. As the result of a cleanup project undertaken in the 1990s, select types of tourism activities are now allowed in Bikini Atoll such as scuba diving and sport fishing. The sunken wreckage of the historic warships of that earlier era have proven a popular draw for tourists.
Shipwrecks in the Bikini Atoll lagoon include:
- USS Saratoga(CV-3) - aircraft carrier
- USS Arkansas(BB-33) - battleship
- USS Lamson(DD-367) - destroyer
- USS Pilotfish(SS-386) - submarine
- Japanese battleship Nagato- battleship
Bikini Atoll was deemed a World Heritage Site in 2010 by the United Nations. This recognizes its international importance in its historical significance and therefore deserving of special protection.
Today, plants on the atoll have regrown, the coral reef continues to recover, and the lagoon is crystal clear. But the area remains uninhabitable.
And the U.S. government continues to compensate survivors (and their families) and former residents.
If you believe that you or a loved one was exposed to government-created radiation on Bikini Atoll or Enewetak Atoll between 1946 and 1958, call the National Cancer Benefits Center at (800) 414-4328 or use our request for more information form to find out whether you’re entitled to compensation.