As young men and teenagers, we were given a futile and dangerous task to ‘cleanup’ the nuclear fallout and debris of 43 atmospheric nuclear weapon tests. We attempted to gather the highest level of radioactive material and dump it into a nuclear blast crater. We dumped 110,000 cubic yards into a nuclear blast crater on Runit Island before covering it under a massive concrete containment dome.
Enewetak is a large coral atoll of 40 islands in the Pacific Ocean and with its 850 people forms a legislative district of the Ralik Chain of the Marshall Islands. Its land area totals less than 5.85 square kilometres (2.26 sq mi), not higher than 5 metres and surrounding a deep central lagoon, 80 kilometres (50 mi) in circumference. It is the second-westernmost atoll of the Ralik Chain and is 305 kilometres (190 mi) west from Bikini Atoll. A total of 67 nuclear and atmospheric bombs were detonated on Enewetak and Bikini between 1946 and 1958. To put this in perspective, you would have to detonate 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every day for 12 years to match the explosive yield derived from these tests. The radioactivity left behind is palpable.
The following is a personal story submitted to Civilian Exposure and published as part…