A dome named The Tomb has been located on Enewetak Atoll, in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. This dome contains the radioactive waste produced by the nuclear bombs detonated in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958 by the United States. Its containment is being threatened by climate change.
During the Cold War, the United States bombed the Marshall Islands 67 times. After that, the Pentagon dropped biological weapons on the islands. When they finished, they picked up the irradiated soil of the islands, poured it into a crater that had been left by a previous nuclear detonation, mixed it all with concrete and covered it all with a huge concrete dome as well.
The sealed shaft contains more than 87,800 cubic metres of radioactive waste - enough to fill up to 35 Olympic swimming pools with radioactive garbage - that was buried as part of efforts to clean up the 'dangerous nuclear waste' left after the US military detonated nuclear bombs on the earth's surface in the 1940s and 1950s. On March 1, 1954, the Pentagon commanded Castle Bravo and also detonated a 15-megaton thermonuclear warhead over Bikini Atoll.
However, research by the Los Angeles Times and Columbia University (USA) has revealed that the radioactive "tomb" is leaking.
The scientists made five trips to the area and discovered that the sea level around the dome is rising every year and there is evidence of coral bleaching, fish death and negative impact on the health of the locals.
Sea levels in the Marshall Islands are reported to be rising three times faster than the global average. This is a worrying development. Experts believe that the waters around this area could rise by another 1.5 meters by the end of the century, which could cause the dome to crack and spill deadly debris inland.
The Los Angeles Times reports that climate change is opening up that dome, threatening to spill nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean.
Remember that the Marshall Islands represent a collection of 29 atolls on 1,156 islands. More than 50,000 people live there. And following U.S. actions, many women on the islands "began to give birth to less than humane things," one Marshall Islands woman told diplomats on a fact-finding mission decades later. Birth defects are so common in the islands that people have several words to describe them, including demons, jellyfish and grape babies.
The United States has largely discarded its responsibility to the Marshall Islands. However, as sea levels and temperatures rise, the safety of the Tomb is being compromised. The United States says it is now the responsibility of the Marshall Islands. Who is going to take care of this nuclear coffin that is threatening to break? It could be a massive nuclear catastrophe. The consequences of life in the ocean could be disastrous.
If the sea level continues to rise as it has in this part of the Pacific, the Marshall Islands, and with it, the Grave, will be submerged. Under that kind of pressure, the concrete dome will crack, spilling all of America's Cold War waste into the Pacific.
Reference: Los Angeles Times