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Marshall Islands giant clams – a delicacy – except for the plutonium

Giant clams are a delicacy of the Marshall Islands but illnesses fuel fears of nuclear contamination, ABC

Key points:

  • The Marshallese bore the brunt of US nuclear bomb tests between 1946–58
  • Tests released large amounts of radioactivity that the US was supposed to clean up
  • Local leaders say that people remain fearful of eating contaminated local produce

“You see a nice-looking edible clam in the lagoon — it’s just like giving a kid a lovely lollipop,” nuclear commissioner Alson Kelen told the ABC, maintaining that eating clams will always be part of Marshall Islands life.

From 1946–1958, the US detonated 67 nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands — some of the largest atomic weapons tests in history — and the area near the test site was evacuated, with locals receiving settlement payouts.

In the aftermath, with widespread radiation sickness being reported across the Marshall Islands, radioactive soil, debris, and wreckage was dumped into a nuclear crater on Enewetak Atoll.

The crater was capped with cement in 1980 and is officially called the Runit Dome — but locals have nicknamed it The Tomb.

The Enewatak people eventually began returning to the islands in the early 1980s following highly controversial talks between the United States and leaders of the Marshall Islands.

Amid reports of ongoing aftereffects and illness, a 2012 United Nations report found that the effects of the nuclear tests were long-lasting, which was followed by a 2013 US Department of Energy report which found radioactive materials were leeching out of the Dome, threatening the already tenuous existence of Enewetak locals. ………..

June 8, 2019 - Posted by | environment, OCEANIA

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