A report in Live Science published Tuesday states that some of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean are still “more radioactive” than Chernobyl and Fukushima, even though more than 60 years have passed since the United States tested radioactive weapons on those islands.”

While researchers only tested small amounts of soil, and they advise that more research is needed, what they found is alarming.

“When testing the soil for plutonium-239 and -240, the researchers found that some of the islands had levels that were between 10 and 1,000 times higher than those on Fukushima (where an earthquake and tsunami led to the meltdown of nuclear reactors) and about 10 times higher than levels in the Chernobyl exclusion zone,” Live Science reports.

The Bikini Atoll nuclear test, Castle Bravo. 

Following the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the U.S. government began “a 12-year period of nuclear testing on the Bikini and Enewetak atolls, during which the U.S. tested 67 nuclear weapons.”

Besides contaminating those atolls, nuclear fallout also sickened people living on nearby Rongelap and Utirik atolls.

Three new studies have been published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Live Science article concludes, “More work is needed to educate people living on the Marshall Islands about these dangers. Moreover, these findings and future research can shed light on whether it’s safe for the Marshallese people to resettle or harvest food on some of these islands, the researchers said.”

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