‘Nuclear coffin’ containing Cold War bomb tests ‘LEAKING’ deadly radioactive sludge

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Nuclear waste from Cold War weapons tests are thought to be leaking from “concrete coffin” into the Pacific Ocean. The United Nations Secretary General recently revealed he was “worried” about the deadly nuclear waste escaping from a concrete dome designed to trap atomic “sludge” resulting from Cold War nuclear bomb tests. The dome is located on the Pacific Ocean’s Runit Island and was created as a dumping ground for radioactive waste in the 1970s.

Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres described the structure as “a kind of coffin” and said that the Pacific has been “victimised” in the past by nuclear tests carried out by the US and France.

Mr Guterres, who is touring the Pacific Islands to raise climate change awareness, said: “The consequences of these tests have been quite dramatic, in relation to health, in relation to the poisoning of waters in some areas.

“I’ve just been with the President of the Marshall Islands, who is very worried because there is a risk of leaking of radioactive materials that are contained in a kind of coffin in the area.”

Runit Island is part of the Enewetak atoll, a ring-shaped coral structure made up of lots of little islands.

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Many locals who used to live on these islands and the surrounding area were forcibly evacuated and resettled due to radioactive fallout.

Sixty-seven American nuclear weapons tests were carried out in the region between 1946-58 including the infamous 1954 Bravo hydrogen bomb test, the most powerful bomb ever detonated by America.

Bravo was 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, estimated to have killed more than 100,000 people.

In an attempt to clean up the Pacific Ocean islands, radioactive soil and ash from the explosions was tipped into a crater made on Runit Island and capped with a concrete dome 18 inches thick.

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However, it was only ever supposed to be a temporary fix so the bottom of the crater was never lined, which is causing concern that the deadly nuclear waste could now be leaking out into the sea.

Cracks have also started to form in the concrete after decades of exposure to the waste and experts are concerned a significant weather event will cause the nuclear coffin to disintegrate.

Mr Guterres has not directly said how the problem could be fixed but thinks that the Pacific’s nuclear history still needs to be addressed.

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He said: “A lot needs to be done in relation to the explosions that took place in French Polynesia and the Marshall Islands,” he said.

“This is in relation to the health consequences, the impact on communities and other aspects.

“Of course there are questions of compensation and mechanisms to allow these impacts to be minimised.”

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