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Enewetok Atoll radioactivity

Where Has All the Radioactivity Gone?

WHOI geochemist Matt Charette (right) collects samples of groundwater from a well on Enewetak Atoll, a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean, along with WHOI researcher Paul Henderson (left) and Eddy Maddison, a Marshall Islands observer and diver. In 2015, Charette and WHOI geochemist Ken Buesseler returned to Bikini and Enewetak Atolls to investigate the sources, flow, and extent of lingering radioactive contamination from U.S. nuclear weapons tests conducted between 1946 and 1958. What they learned can also be applied to a more recent nuclear disaster: the 2011 Fukushima Daichi reactor explosion and meltdown in Japan that sent a flood of radioactive isotopes into the air, ground, and ocean. (Photo by Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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