Corals growing in nuclear bomb crater Bikini Atoll.
Corals growing in nuclear bomb crater Bikini Atoll.

Bikini Atoll Recovery From Nuclear Blasts

by Lewis Loflin

Updated 10/28/2022.

The Bikini Atoll Castle-Bravo nuclear test March 1, 1954 hydrogen test created a blast of 15 megatons and a fireball 4 miles wide. From 1946-1958 Bikini Atoll was the site of 23 nuclear detonations, including the underwater Baker blast of 1946.

That blast smashed target ships to junk, wrecked ships leaked tons of oil into the lagoon, corals, and sand vaporized, and a two-mile-wide steam cloud filled with radiation levels so high that the US military was in shock. Surviving ships were so radioactive most got scuttled.

Quoting Andrea Thompson April 15, 2008 on the 1954 blast:

"Code-named Castle Bravo, the nuclear bomb was the most powerful ever exploded at the time, at 15 megatons, making it 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World War II. The massive explosion vaporized everything on three islands, raised water temperatures to 55,000 degrees and left a crater that was 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) wide and 240 feet (73 meters) deep."

Some reports I read said the steam cloud was 50 miles wide.

23 nuclear weapons were detonated at Bikini Atoll including the 4-6-megaton hydrogen bomb. This left a crater 1 mile wide and 160 feet deep. They found:

"something even more astonishing to behold: a reassembling ecosystem, including schools of large fish, reef sharks and robust coral, which may have begun life as little as a decade after the area’s annihilation...not just scattered corals, but very abundant, big healthy coral communities - corals larger than cars scattered about the edges of a hydrogen bomb crater..."

To quote researchers expecting a dead world,

"You’re kind of looking at that and thinking, 'Well, that’s strange. Frankly, the visual and emotional impact of it is just stunning.'"

The lagoon has a number of ship wrecks used as target ships during the tests. They spilled tons of oil and other pollutants. The lagoon recovered anyway.

(Back on land)

...Typically, readings showed normal background radiation levels; at one point, the group encountered a level similar to what airline passengers experience at 35,000 feet.

To quote, "...some of the highest radioactive readings came from the coconuts, whose trees concentrate the radiation in the soil and groundwater."

But highest compared to what? They gave no figures. The abundant animal and plant life seem to have yet to notice.


Baker blast Bikini Atoll

Above the Baker underwater blast in 1946.

After all of this one would expect a nuclear biological desert in this lagoon, yet as of 2008 those bomb craters are full of corals and sea life and host healthy fish populations. Oddly, I can't find anything up to date on the lagoon other than denunciations on biodiversity hype and the atoll can't support human life due to lingering radioactivity. Tell that to the lush plant life, trees, birds, and fish that live there.

Ms. Thompson at the end of the article went into another rant on climate change killing coral reefs. Do we accept empirical scientific proof or computer model hypothesis from those hostile to human life on their sacred Earth?

Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Saratoga leaking oil, sinking at Bikini Atoll
Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Saratoga leaking oil, sinking at Bikini Atoll

Above the Baker underwater blast in 1946 leaves wrecks leaking oil into the lagoon.

I've tracked Bikini Atoll since I was in the army (1977), and this recovery is amazing; "huge matrices of branching Porites coral up to 8 meters (25 feet high) had established, creating a thriving coral reef habitat...Throughout other parts of the lagoon, it was awesome to see the coral cover as high as 80 percent and large tree-like branching coral formations with trunks 30 centimeters (12 inches) thick."

So says Zoe Richards of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University. The hysteria over nuclear radiation is also blown all out of proportion.

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