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Domination and ResistanceThe United States and the Marshall Islands during the Cold War$
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Martha Smith-Norris

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824847623

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824847623.001.0001

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US Nuclear Tests, the Environment, and Medical Research

US Nuclear Tests, the Environment, and Medical Research

Case Studies of the Rongelapese and Utirikese

(p.75) Chapter Three US Nuclear Tests, the Environment, and Medical Research
Domination and Resistance

Martha Smith-Norris

University of Hawai'i Press

Chapter Three focusses on the human and ecological consequences of American Cold War policies on the Rongelap and Utirik Atolls. In particular, it concentrates on the effects of the 1954 Bravo explosion, the largest thermonuclear test ever carried out by the United States. It explains how the exposed Rongelapese and Utirikese communities became the subjects of human radiation experiments conducted by scientists and doctors working for the Brookhaven National Laboratory between 1954 and the 1980s. The chapter also emphasizes the islanders’ efforts to acquire adequate compensation from the US for their nonconsensual role in these experiments and for the extensive damages that resulted from Bravo and other nuclear tests. Finally, the chapter describes the Rongelapese’ decision to move to Mejatto in 1985 due to ongoing concerns about the environmental and health hazards associated with living on their contaminated homeland.

Keywords:   Rongelap and Utirik, United States, Bravo, human radiation experiments, Brookhaven National Laboratory, compensation, nuclear tests, Mejatto, ecological consequences, health hazards

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