Now revealed – the massive extent of USA’s nuclear bombng of Marshall Islands

The Fallout from Nuclear Secrecy , Consortium News,  July 23, 2013   During the Cold War’s early years, the U.S. government detonated dozens of nuclear explosions on Pacific atolls, spreading nuclear fallout around the globe and making some areas uninhabitable, a grim legacy captured in secret documents finally being shared with the Marshall Islands’ government, reports Beverly Deepe Keever.

More than a half century after U.S. nuclear tests shattered the tranquility of Pacific Ocean atolls — rendering parts of them uninhabitable – the U.S. government has quietly released secret fallout results from 49 Pacific hydrogen-bomb blasts with an explosive force equal to 3,200 Hiroshima-size bombs.

The U.S. government turned over to the Republic of the Marshall Islands 650-plus pages of newly declassified documents that include four reports detailing fallout results of 49 tests it conducted in Operation Redwing in 1956 and Operation Hardtack in 1958 at Bikini and Enewetak atolls, according to a three-paragraph press release posted on the web site of the U.S. Embassy in the capital city of Majuro on June 12.

U.S. Ambassador Thomas Armbruster presented the previously classified nuclear documents detailing fallout results to the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), Christopher  Loeak, and his Cabinet, The Marshall Islands Journal reportedThe Journal also indicated that RMI officials are now reviewing these documents, which they had requested. Several documents listed in the press release had been extracted and declassified in the 1980s though they received little public notice.

Before the nuclear tests, the U.S. government removed all atoll inhabitants; some are still exiled from their radioactive ancestral homelands. All 49 hydrogen-bomb tests were laced with plutonium, one of the deadliest elements known to humankind with a radioactive existence of half a million years.

From 1946 to 1958, the U.S. government conducted 66 nuclear weapons tests from and near the two atolls of Bikini and Enewetak, when the U.S. administered the Marshall Islands under a U.N.-sanctioned trust arrangement. The reports provide technical and scientific data on results of these second and third most destructive nuclear-weapons operations the U.S. ever conducted and the last ones it exploded in the Marshall Islands and the surrounding waters.

The reports detail instruments and procedures used to capture and measure fallout from experiments conducted on the atolls, underwater or in the atmosphere. Included are diagrams of flight patterns flown to capture fallout in the clouds, tables listing each detonation, maps showing blast locations plus graphs and charts detailing measurements of old and new radioactive products that were collected by using technical instruments such as spectrometers, aerial radiation detectors or telemeters.

Not until 1993 did the U.S. declassify information on the explosive force or magnitude of 44 of the 66 nuclear weapons tests conducted at Bikini and Enewetak atolls so as to inform Marshallese and U.S. test personnel. Now, the newly declassified U.S reports give Marshallese and others more fallout results of those explosions.

The fallout from the 49 explosions in Redwing and Hardtack is hard to comprehend. In 1994, when the U.S. government released details about its 1,054 nuclear tests worldwide from 1945 to its last one in 1992, the data showed the yield – the explosive force – of Operations Redwing and Hardtack at more than 48,846 kilotons, or the equivalent of about 3,200 Hiroshima-size bombs.

Operation Redwing included tests to assess military effects. Hardtack centered on developing missile warheads and high-yield strategic hydrogen bombs. The next-to-last test in the Redwing series, codenamed Tewa, was launched from a reef at Bikini and packed a yield of 5,000 kilotons — which equates to 333 Hiroshima-size bombs.

“Tewa was so powerful it lit up the sky in Hawaii,” a U.S. serviceman identified as Carl Duncan is quoted as saying in  describing that blast 2,500 miles from Honolulu. Tewa’s fallout was about 30 percent of its total yield of 5,000 kilotons and contaminated 43,500 nautical miles of ocean, according to “Operation Redwing: Fallout Location and Delineation by Aerial Surveys,” as first declassified in 1988. The U.S. gave a newly declassified version of this report to RMI officials.

“Eniwetak was hit by very heavy fallout that lasted for days,” Michael Harris, a 22-year-old Army draftee who experienced 12 of the 17 Redwing blasts, wrote, in adding italics on days. “And Carl and Berko (and the rest of the men) were exposed to seven and a half times more radiation than they received from all the other” blasts. (The spelling of Eniwetak has since been changed.)

The Tewa fallout on the Enewetak base camp did lead to dusting servicemen there with fallout exceeding the maximum permissible exposure, according to a 454-page report titled “Operation Redwing,” dated 1956 and declassified in 1982. However, that report indicated, “The highest exposures were recorded by Air Force flight officers whose aircraft penetrated the nuclear clouds.” The U.S. gave to RMI officials a report focusing on U.S. Air Force operations to collect fallout data titled “Final Report of the Commander Task Group 7.4 Operation Redwing.”

“Eniwetak was still receiving heavy fallout from the Tewa cloud,” when the next blast, codenamed Huron (each blast was named after a Native American tribe), was detonated the following day, Harris recounted. The Huron blast of 250 kilotons equates to 16 Hiroshima-size bombs. In contrast, the Eisenhower administration at the time disclosed that the Redwing series had powdered Enewetak with only “light” radioactive fallout.

When a Soviet diplomat delegated to the U.N. Trusteeship Council asked whether these islands must be “lost forever,” the U.S. official in 1956 replied that Bikini and Enewetak might be uninhabitable for at least two generations. Today Bikini and parts of Enewetak are still too radioactive to be safely inhabited……. http://consortiumnews.com/2013/07/23/the-fallout-from-nuclear-secrecy/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: