Radiation maps of ocean sediment from the Castle Bravo crater

Last modified: 
July 30, 2019 - 4:16pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2019
Date published: 07/2019
Authors: Emlyn Hughes, Monica Molina, Maveric Abella, Ivana Nikolić-Hughes, Malvin Ruderman
Journal title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Pages: 201903478
ISSN: 0027-8424

On March 1, 1954, the United States conducted its largest thermonuclear weapon test in Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands; the detonation was code-named “Castle Bravo.” Radioactive deposits in the ocean sediment at the bomb crater are widespread and high levels of contamination remain today. One hundred thirty cores were collected from the top 25 cm of surface sediment at ocean depths approaching 60 m over a ∼2-km2 area, allowing for a presentation of radiation maps of the Bravo crater site. Radiochemical analyses were performed on the following radionuclides: plutonium-(239,240), plutonium-238, americium-241, bismuth-207, and cesium-137. Large values of plutonium-(239,240), americium-241, and bismuth-207 are found. Comparisons are made to core sample results from other areas in the northern Marshall Islands.

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