U.S. military nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands stretched across a dozen years in two decades. But the March 1, 1954 detonation of Castle Bravo on Bikini Atoll was the most powerful.

That’s according to the Marshall Islands National Nuclear Commission, which sent out a statement Monday urging people to recognize March 1 as Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day.

The national holiday in the Marshall Islands is intended to honor survivors and promote peace, and comes as Russia puts its nuclear forces on alert as it continues its invasion of Ukraine.

This explosion at Bikini Atoll was the most powerful hydrogen bomb detonated in the Marshall Islands, the commission said. Provided: Lawrence Livermore Laboratory

The Marshall Islands National Nuclear Commission said in its statement that many Marshallese are still displaced from their home islands as a result of the U.S. testing.

“To this day, generations of people are without a home and food security, and many face generational health disparities,” the commission said in its press release.

The U.S. nuclear legacy remains an issue in the ongoing treaty negotiations between the U.S. and Marshall Islands. The country is one of three Pacific nations with which the U.S. has agreements known as the compacts of free association, which give the U.S. strategic denial rights over the nations’ land, sea and air, but the financial components of the agreements are soon to expire.

President Joe Biden’s administration recently affirmed its commitment to concluding those negotiations in light of China’s efforts to strengthen its relationships in the Pacific region.

“We shall never forget the resilience and strength of nuclear frontline communities who continue to fight for dignity and respect to uplift their stories towards nuclear, health, and social justice,” the commission said.

Click here to read more Civil Beat coverage of this issue.

Not a subscription

Civil Beat is a small nonprofit newsroom, and we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content because we believe in journalism as a public service. That’s why donations from readers like you are essential to our continued existence.

Make a gift to Civil Beat today and help keep our journalism free for all readers. And if you’re able, consider a sustaining monthly gift to support our work all year-round.

 

 

About the Author