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Images: Back to Bikini

A airplane view of Majuro, one of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. WHOI scientists returned to these tiny atolls in 2015 to learn the fate of radioactive contamination from U.S. nuclear weapons tests conducted between 1946 and 1958 at Bikini and Enewetak Atolls. Right: In the late 1940s, WHOI scientists took part in documenting the initial impacts of the bomb tests on the ocean. (Ken Buesseler, WHOI)
(Illustration: Eric S. Taylor, WHOI Graphic Services. Globe: Google Earth, Data Sio, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO, Image Landsat, Image U.S. Geological Survey. Background: European Southern Observatory)
A WHOI autonomous vehicle called the Jetyak motors into Bikini Lagoon. It is equipped with a sensor to sample water and detect radioactive compounds. (Ken Buesseler, WHOI)
WHOI scientists sailed to the remote Marshall Islands on the Alucia. (Ken Buesseler, WHOI)
From right: WHOI researcher Paul Henderson, Eddy Maddison, a Marshall Islands observer and diver, and WHOI geochemist Matt Charette collect samples of groundwater from a well near the Runit Dome on Enewetak. (Ken Buesseler, WHOI)
WHOI geochemist Ken Buesseler carries a hand-held Geiger counter as he prepares to ascend the Runit Dome—a 350-foot-wide concrete lid built to contain radioactive contaminated material from nuclear weapons tests. The dome rises ten feet above sea level. (Ken Buesseler, WHOI)
The Runit Dome on Enewetak was constructed in the late 1970s. The United States bulldozed some 11,000 cubic yards of radioactive topsoil and debris into a crater from a nuclear bomb test and then sealed it over with concrete in an attempt to contain radioactivity. Is seawater leaching underneath the Runit Dome and transporting radioactive compounds into the ocean?
A sign on a derelict fix-it shop on Bikini Atoll reads "Bikini Repair Shop: We Can Fix Everything Except Broken Heart." U.S. officials evacuated the people who lived on the tiny atoll before using it as a target for a nuclear weapons test. The islanders have not been able to return to their home. (Ken Buesseler, WHOI)
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