Marshall Islands' radioactivity
Radioactivity still persists in parts of the Marshall Islands from nuclear testing in the 1940s and 50s, according to new research.
Published in the journal PNAS, one of the three new papers states that while the background radiation levels are safe in the islands which are currently inhabited, gamma radiation persists in Bikini Atoll and other ground-zero test sites.
A second study found that fruits grown in some of the northern Marshall Islands – including coconuts – are contaminated with a radioactive isotope of Caesium at much higher levels than those found near Chernobyl or Fukushima.
In the third paper, scientists found the top 25cm of soil in the bomb crater of the largest hydrogen bomb tested in Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands still shows significant levels of plutonium and other radioactive isotopes.
University of Auckland physicist Dr David Krofcheck told RNZ the studies did a good job at showing some of the atolls, Bikini in particular "are just still probably just too, too hot radioactively, with radioactivity for long term resettlement".
Majuro - where most of the population already lives "has a radiation background comparable to that of Central Park, New York," he said, and foods tested there showed levels safely within worldwide standards.
ESR senior scientists Cris Ardouin and Michael Lechermann, said: "Levels of radioactive fallout have continued to decline as would be expected since the cessation of nuclear weapons testing in the region."
The comments Dr Krofcheck provided to the SMC went around the world - appearing in Scottish, British and US media, and even being translated into French, Polish, Korean and Spanish.
The full SMC expert reaction is available here.