Nuclear Tests at Bikini Atoll

The US “Operation Crossroads” tests were designed to explore the effects of nuclear explosions on military equipment such as ships and airplanes. A large number of laboratory animals were also exposed to these explosions in order examine the short- and long-term effects of radiation exposure. Over ninety percent of the target objects were contaminated with radioactive material, enabling scientists to collect extensive data on concentrated radioactive precipitation. The island was used as a site for further US testing in the 1950s. Before the tests were conducted, the indigenous population of Bikini Atoll was resettled in the uninhabited Rongerik Atoll, where it was completely dependent on external assistance. Due to the strong radioactive contamination of Bikini Atoll flora, fauna, and drinking water, a return of the indigenous people to their home is still impossible. Bikini Atoll was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 31 July 2010.

Further Readings: 
  • Delgado, James P. “America at a Crossroads 60 Years Later.” Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute 132, no. 7 (2006).
  • Weisgall, Jonathan. Operation Crossroads: The Atomic Tests at Bikini Atoll. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1994.