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What you see on the picture above is just what the title says... a massive concrete lid to a 107 m diameter nuclear waste trash can on a beautiful island in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Was it really necessary to damage so much those environments for the sake of testing useless nuclear weapons?

(On the left the concrete dome covering a explosion crater, on the right another explosion crater.)

After WW2 the residents were evacuated, often involuntarily, and the atoll was used for nuclear testing as part of the U.S. Pacific Proving Grounds.

Beneath this concrete dome on Runit Island (part of Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands), built between 1977 and 1980 at a cost of about $239 million, lie 111,000 cubic yards (84,927 cubic meters) of radioactive soil and debris from from 43 atomic and thermonuclear explosions on Bikini and Rongelap atolls between 1948 and 1958. The dome covers the 30-foot (9 meter) deep, 350-foot (107 meter) wide crater created by the May 5, 1958, Cactus test.

The people began returning in the 1970s, and on May 15, 1977, the U.S. government directed the military to decontaminate the islands. This was done by mixing the contaminated soil and debris from the various islands with Portland cement and burying it in one of the blast craters.

The U.S. government declared the islands safe for habitation in 1980.


The concrete dome during its construction.

coordinates : 11°33'09.10"N 162°20'50.21"E
google map

pictures sources : 1 2 3
text source : 1 2 3 4
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18 comments

  1. FreddyRed // Saturday, January 17, 2009 8:41:00 AM  

    If the tests had not been done, we would have lost 5 million men in Japan, your father would not have existed, or you would be speaking Japanese now.

  2. Anonymous // Thursday, January 22, 2009 9:16:00 PM  

    Awesome dereliction. But those same tests served a purpose few would understand, or remember. They were a large reason major cities across the globe didn't end up looking like that.

  3. Jerry // Thursday, February 26, 2009 11:14:00 AM  

    Useless Nuclear weapons? Are these the same weapons that have made war between major nations impossible due to their massive destructive power? Look at the magnatude of the wars prior to 1945 and the loss of life associated with those wars. Then compare and contrast those horible numbers with the wars after 1945. If your are honest in your assessment, then there is one inescapable conclusion.Nuclear weapons are weapons of peace.

  4. Anonymous // Wednesday, March 04, 2009 5:10:00 AM  

    All B.S., more power brings more violence and much more destruction... It is like this you hit me, I hit you harder, you hit me even harder and so on... In any case violence does not bring peace. Wars are always lose-lose events.

  5. nash // Friday, March 13, 2009 1:12:00 PM  

    yes things would be different if these tests weren't performed, but why put such things into our earth? to save us temporarily, but we are so good at destroying this planet that soon enough, burying our accidents and failures wont be an option.

  6. Anonymous // Thursday, March 19, 2009 9:54:00 AM  

    Look at wars BEFORE then... WW1- the civillian casualties are way less than the deaths of those fighting in the wars.. WW2... the civilian deaths were 6 TIMES as much as the deaths of those fighting in the war.. so.. automatic weapons, planes, all increasing power in war.. is it really a good thing?

  7. Anonymous // Friday, March 20, 2009 9:13:00 PM  

    It's sad really.

  8. Anonymous // Monday, March 30, 2009 7:55:00 AM  

    FreddyRed: none of the bombs tested at the atoll had anything to do with the war in Japan. They were all hydrogen bombs, built years after the end of World War 2.

    The atomic tests that lead to the bombs dropped on Japan occurred within the United States.

    Please get your history right.

  9. Formwork // Wednesday, April 22, 2009 8:04:00 AM  

    I will stay out of the political talk. I am just thinking about the logistics involved in constructing such a large concrete structure in the middle of nowhere.

  10. ghindo // Saturday, May 16, 2009 1:04:00 PM  

    FreddyRed - these tests were conducted AFTER World War 2. The only nuclear test that took place before the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was Trinity, which was conducted in the United States.

  11. Volund // Tuesday, May 19, 2009 7:19:00 PM  

    @ FreddyRed

    The pacific tests were all done post WWII, the Trinity tests (during WWII) were conducted at the Alamogordo Bombing range (now the White Sands Missile Range) in New Mexico.

    The government could have done these tests better, all cold have been done on a single, uninhabited atole, the best of bost worlds.

  12. Anonymous // Saturday, May 23, 2009 3:41:00 PM  

    FreddyRed: I am Japanese, you insensitive clod!

  13. dracobman // Thursday, May 28, 2009 9:53:00 AM  

    Wars are lose lose, but as long as there is evil in this world, those that would impose their beliefs and lives on others, tyrants, murderers, thieves, people can stand up to that evil (aka the act that creates war), or we can lie down and die. I chose to live. If that means to fight is necessary, then so be it. Evil must be stopped, whatever the cost, or we would all be cursed to our worst nightmares.

  14. Kristopher // Monday, June 01, 2009 9:47:00 AM  

    Anon: Wars are always lose-lose events.

    Where are the Carthaginians? Sometimes violence is the answer.

  15. Anonymous // Friday, June 05, 2009 2:12:00 AM  

    However, if we both know that the next punch will DESTROY BOTH OF US AND THE WORLD, then we probably won't be sparring, don't you think?

  16. Anonymous // Tuesday, June 09, 2009 7:09:00 AM  

    Nuclear weapons, as awful as they are, have provided for the longest peace between major players since their inception. Yes, wars are lose-lose events, this does not prevent totalitarian governments from from attempting to realize their stated goals-as in the USSR's case, as stated by N Khrushchev so well-"We shall bury you". The nuclear threat gave Kennedy the courage to prevent The Burial in 1963. No one loves peace more than a soldier, and no one appreciates military might and it's necessity sometimes like a soldier.
    radman
    Tet

  17. Anonymous // Wednesday, June 24, 2009 7:54:00 AM  

    Tell that to the people who were in the concentration camps liberated by the Allies.

  18. Anonymous // Saturday, July 11, 2009 5:55:00 AM  

    And if you do not hit me back, I just keep on hitting you until you are dead. The fact that you don't want to fight, does not mean the other side will do the same. Many European countries thought the same as you before WWII. They didn't spend much time or money improving their militaries, thinking if they didn't want to fight a war, they didn't have to. Big surprise, Germany attacked anyway and their antiquated armies were swept away.