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back to article Bikini atoll residents now get less radiation than Euros, Yanks

US government nuke boffins say that Bikini atoll and other Pacific islands blown up by America in 1950s atomic-bomb tests are now entirely safe to live on - in fact they are safer, from the point of view of radiation dose, than living in Europe or the continental USA. According to Lawrence Livermore nuke lab boffins Bill Robison …

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Jobs Horns

GCE Science

So what about all that stuff they told us at school that sites would remain contaminated and inhabitable for thousands if not millions of years? They even went through the maths of half-lifes to 'prove' it?

Was this yet another example of those who can't, teaching?

Mind you, they also used to teach us that you couldn't get pregnant if you'd just done cross country running. Or at least our PE teacher, Father Hackett, did. Odd sort of bloke, now I think about it. Always putting the good looking girls in detention after we got back from games.

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Gold badge

Re: GCE science

"They even went through the maths of half-lifes to 'prove' it?"

Forget the maths. There were people living at those sites even as they "did the maths". Anyone who told you they were uninhabitable was not just innumerate, they were blind.

But I don't want to be down on teachers. It's very "human" to believe one thing and to be aware of evidence that proves it isn't true and yet not realise that this means you ought to change your beliefs. The hardest part of doing science is the degree of self-criticism required. (http://www.lhup.edu/~DSIMANEK/cargocul.htm) The truth is, most of us aren't up to it.

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Grenade

Logic fail for spin

Since those nuclear blasts were tests, implying even the experts weren't entirely sure of what they were doing, goofs, cockups, surprises, and such are to be expected. Thus, in evaluating whether to use a site for testing you have to factor in the possible outcomes including things like, oh, accidentally setting off a 50kt bomb instead of a 5kt one. Consequently I do think failing to make sure nobody was around is downright irresponsible and certainly not excusable.

Ze picture of ze grenade, for it is ze best I have available. As of yet still legal.

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Silver badge

Shouldn't be funny

"The Rongelap islanders in particular suffered a nasty surprise as they had not been told about the test, which was supposed to be secret."

I should not be laughing at this, but the notion of a "secret" nuclear mushroom cloud amuses me.

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Paris Hilton

PR?

Maybe a better solution is to build a Bikini Atoll holiday resort for use by US atom scientists, administration and presidential staff?

With menu full of local produce?

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Silver badge

holiday resort

If you filled the place with administration and presidential staff I expect there would soon be lots of women running around with no Bikini Atoll.

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Gold badge
Coat

That nasty surprise...

"The Rongelap islanders in particular suffered a nasty surprise as they had not been told about the test, which was supposed to be secret."

Yeah, I know the Pacific is a big enough place for this to be true, but does anyone else find the idea of a *secret* 15 megaton nuclear test rather amusing?

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Go

Page wins again

Love the description of Castle Bravo as a "whoopsie"

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Boffin

Subscript/superscript

Don't expect us to do such fancy formatting in the comments, but the atomic mass should be superscripted, not subscripted.

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Unhappy

Fallout is everywhere.

Fallout is everywhere. Read "On the Beach" by Nevil Shute.

But the continental U.S. in particular has been test-nuked a load of times, so it's more radioactive than, say, Antarctica. Maybe unless (I have no idea) Antarctica is made entirely of granite or other uranium-bearing rock, which also increases background radiation, notably in airborne radon and/or radioactivated house-dust.

As for Europe, well, Marie and Pierre Curie have a lot to answer for. Paris really skews the average. :-)

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Gold badge

What about school?

"So what about all that stuff they told us at school that sites would remain contaminated and inhabitable for thousands if not millions of years? They even went through the maths of half-lifes to 'prove' it?"

It's crap. Just like here in the US (in the 50s at least) where they were telling people they could stay in a fallout shelter for like a day or two and everything would be A-OK.

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Big Brother

ER not quite the Whole Truth

Er , not quite the whole truth and or full disclosure as both Baker and Able were of the Plutonium Implosion type weapon as per "FATMAN" used on the port of Nagasaki in 1945 . Now Physics tells us two things one only a very small percentage of the fissile plutonium core is actually consumed to make the big wanger banger mushroom cloud and the remaining large bulk of the fissile material is flash core heat vaporized along with entire bomb casing and components into heavily contaminated radiation products of a wide variety of types dependent on the dosage and type of radiation from the initial core double flash . Now since Able was an air burst weapon the both the vaporized casing and core were free to move in three dimensions along with alpha/beta/gamma radiation burst (a tethered goat inside the USS Nevada Aft Gun Turret some 710 yards away from the blast point died within four days from a lethal dose of Gamma/Neutron Radiation ) . So there is still a considerable amount of plutonium micro dust spread all over the atoll and a few milligrams plutonium Pu 239 is deemed to be a lethal dose . Baker was detonated under water on the bottom of the lagoon on July 25th , 1946

Would the scientists making these claims that it is safe for human habitation , want to live on the Atoll ? For some obscure reason "NBL" would be the basic answer ! To them it is just another long term test with non consenting human guinea pigs just like all the residents in Washington State surrounding Hanford Nuclear Bomb Making Facility , who were subject to a very large number of evil very questionable nuclear contamination experiments as 80,000 plus pages of government declassified documents show (UNIT 731 still lives on in the US military even today , in a variety of disguises all covered by the official secrecy acts to hide the stupidity of those that condone this evil at every level within the military science weapon design complex) .

Are they telling the whole truth and proving full disclosure , and the answer as all those conspiracy people would say at every turn of the screw is "NBL" !

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