The nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll program was a series of 23 nuclear weapons detonated by the United States between and at seven test sites on the reef itself, on the sea, in the air, and underwater. The United States was engaged in a Cold War nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union to build more advanced bombs from until The second was Baker and was suspended under a barge. It produced a large Wilson cloud and contaminated all of the target ships. Chemist Glenn T. Seaborg was the longest-serving chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, and he called the second test "the world's first nuclear disaster.
Marshall Islands | Atomic Heritage Foundation
Eleven families lived peacefully on the island, headed by their chief Juda. They fished, ate coconuts, pandanas and breadfruit, collected turtle eggs, and sailed to nearby islands to visit friends. But, that year, American military planners concluded that the Bikini Atoll, a collection of fragile islands surrounding a lagoon, was the ideal target for testing the power of atomic bombs. An advance team came to Bikini and talked to the islanders about turning "this great destructive force to something good for mankind.
Nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll
The Marshall Islands consist of two chains of 29 coral atolls, and are located north of the equator, between Hawaii and Australia. On each atoll there are a number of islands. The Marshallese have lived there for thousands of years.
Washington, D. The Baker test caused a radiological crisis because task force personnel were assigned to do salvage work on contaminated test ships. Recently declassified documents shed light on the emerging Cold War atmosphere; one of the observers, Simon Peter Alexandrov, who was in charge of uranium for the Soviet nuclear project, told a U.