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Radiation Exposure and Radiation Diasters Affecting Marshall Island - Research Paper Example

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Radiation Exposure and Radiation Disasters Affecting Marshall Islands Full Name Radiation Exposure and Radiation Disasters Affecting Marshall Islands Introduction The explosions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the Second World War and demonstrated the potential of nuclear technology as a strategic military weapon…
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Radiation Exposure and Radiation Diasters Affecting Marshall Island
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Download file to see previous pages The effects of radiation while dealing with radioactive material were demonstrated. The guidelines and limits were not established since the experience with radiation exposure was not enough to come up with a standard. To test the weapons, Nevada desert was used and underground tests were conducted to prevent massive radiation from affecting the ecosystem. However, as the magnitude of the projects increased, the US required a testing ground to effectively analyze the capabilities of the much higher yield weapons. Marshall Islands were taken from Japan during the Second World War and were administrated by the US under United Nations Trust Territory. These islands in the Pacific consisted of small islets and atolls. They were chosen as a proving ground for the nuclear tests. A total of 67 tests were conducted between 1946 and 1958 (Ferraro & Andreatta, 2012, p. 62). These explosions were mostly atmospheric and changed the ecosystem of the area. The paper will take into account the effects of radiation exposure and the magnitude of disaster on the Marshall Islands. Early Tests Two main atolls were used as testing grounds, Bikini and Enewetak. They are separated by 300 kilometers. The population was evacuated to safe distance on other atolls in the region, almost 200 kilometers away from the test sites (Angelo, 2004, p. 388). Bikini atoll alone experienced a total yield of 42.2 megatons during twelve years of testing. From 1946 to 1951, nine tests took place; eight of these tests were atmospheric and the yields were in kilotons, the highest being 225 kilotons (Nuclear Claims Tribunal, 2013). During the period, the fallout was controlled and the population was kept at a safe distance. The effects of these explosions were local and limited to some extent, however, in 1952, the yield drastically increased and 10.4 megaton test was carried out as opposed to kilotons before. The test left a crater of about 1 kilometer in diameter and the area was highly contaminated with radiation (CTBTO Preparatory Commission, 2012). The tests contaminated the soil by turning into radioactive materials. Thermonuclear Test The magnitude of tests increased and in 1954, hydrogen or thermonuclear bomb was tested for the first time. The yield was miscalculated and the outcome was almost three times the expected yield (Robbins & Adams, 1985, p. 12). The explosion was rated at 15 megatons and considered to be the most powerful explosion by the US. Furthermore, the wind condition at the test day was towards the population settlement on other islands. These two factors caused extreme radiation exposure to the inhabitants. Even with this exposure the affected community was evacuated two days after the test. Immediate Effects The immediate effect of the test included skin burns and hair loss in many inhabitants on the islands. The nearest island was 150, whereas, the farthest, 570 kilometers from the test site; however, a Japanese fishing boat about 150 kilometers was the nearest to experience the fallout (Lessard, 1986, p. 5). Debris including radioactive soil from the blast was received by the boat and from a crew of 23, one member died. The islands, however, received shower of radioactive particles in the form of ash carried by the wind. About 250 people were directly exposed to the radiation by the radioactive debris. The exact radioactive dose received by the inhabitants could not be determined as the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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