Project 4.1 is a secret medical study of the United States government on residents of the Marshall Islands, those who were exposed to radiation after a nuclear test on the Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954. Americans did not expect such an effect from radioactive contamination: miscarriages and stillbirths among women doubled in the first five years after the tests, and many of those who survived soon got cancer.
The US Department of Energy commented on the experiments: "... Research on the effects of radiation on humans could be conducted in parallel with the treatment of radiation victims." And further: "... The population of the Marshall Islands was used in the experiment as guinea pigs."
Let's learn more about those events.
More than 65 years ago, the United States began nuclear testing on the territory of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
“Castle Bravo” is an American test of a thermonuclear explosive device on March 1, 1954 on the Bikini Atoll (Republic of Marshall Islands, associated with the United States). The first of a series of seven tests "Operations Castle» (Operation Castle).
During this test, a two-stage charge was exploded, in which lithium deuteride was used as a thermonuclear fuel. Energy release during the explosion reached 15 megatons, which makes Castle Bravo the most powerful of all US nuclear tests. The explosion led to a strong radiation contamination of the environment, which caused concern around the world and led to a serious review of existing views on nuclear weapons.
For many decades, this topic was a kind of taboo for the Western world, especially for the United States, which tested the "devil", as the islanders themselves called it, under the benevolent intentions "in the name of peace and security on Earth." However, in 2006, during international events dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the sad date, a decision was made at the UN level to formally investigate all the circumstances and effects of American tests on Aboriginal people and the environment.
During this time, several dozen expeditions of scientists, as well as activists, members of environmental non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders were sent to the Marshall Islands. Participated in the study of problems and officials of the UN.Synthesis, conclusions and recommendations will be presented to the Human Rights Council at United Nations Headquarters in Geneva by Special Rapporteur Kalin Gergescu.
As you know, the Americans tested the first atomic bomb in the atmosphere on July 16, 1945 - on their own territory, near the town of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Then - on the inhabitants of Japan: the nuclear apocalypse of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is celebrated annually since August 1945. After that, the US authorities decided to test a new weapon away from their own territory. The choice fell on the poorly populated, lost in the Pacific Ocean Marshall Islands, which immediately after the Second World War were under the control of the UN, and after the explosions in 1946 on Bikini Island two American atomic bombs, tutelage over them was transferred to the United States. The White House has made serious commitments: "to protect the inhabitants of the islands from the loss of their lands and resources" and "to protect the health of the inhabitants of the protected area."
How exactly the Americans “defended” the people entrusted to them and their land, it became apparent from the declassified in 1994, as well as recently official documents. It turned out that this "guardianship" pulls on an international tribunal.“Between 1946 and 1948,” the author of The Danger of Nuclear War: Rongepele Atoll Report, anthropologist Barbara Johnston, told me, “The United States tested 66 nuclear bombs on or near the Bikini and Enivochk atolls, atomizing the islands from the inside and, as declassified documents show , hitting the local population. "
The total explosive power on the Marshall Islands was 93 times higher than all US atmospheric nuclear tests in the desert of Nevada. It is equivalent to more than 7,000 bombs dropped by the USA on Japanese Hiroshima.
In March 1954, a secret test codenamed "Bravo" was conducted on the Bikini, the results of which stunned even the military. The island was almost destroyed by a hydrogen bomb, which was a thousand times higher than the power dropped on Hiroshima. “On the eve of this test,” environmental activists Jane Goodall and Rick Esselta told reporters, “the weather turned bad, and in the morning when the test was conducted, the wind blew directly onto American warships and several inhabited islands, including Rongilep and Utrik. However, despite the fact that such a wind direction posed a danger to people living on these islands, the bomb was blown up.Huge clouds of sand, white ash settled on several atolls, striking people, including a small number of Americans there. ”
In general, according to estimates from US declassified materials, as a result of nuclear tests, about 6.3 billion curies of radioactive iodine-131 were released into the atmosphere over the Marshall Islands. This is 42 times more than 150 million curies released as a result of tests in Nevada, and 150 times more than 40 million curies after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. (According to experts, emissions at the Japanese nuclear power plant Fukushima currently range from 2.4 to 24 million curies, and they are still in the process.)
However, according to the documents, not only the local population was affected by secret nuclear weapons tests. Under the "distribution" near the island of Bravo in 1954, the Japanese fishing vessel Daigo Fukuryu Maru ("Lucky Dragon") also fell. All 23 crew members received strong exposure. One of them, Kuboyama Aikishi, died a few weeks later. (The Americans, on the other hand, donated antibiotics to the Japanese for the treatment of the irradiated crew.) At the same time, the inhabitants of the islands were not warned about testing, they were not taken out at least to this time to a safe place.Without knowing it, they had actually experienced the deadly effect of nuclear explosions on health.
According to Barbara Johnston, the unsuspecting, irradiated Aborigines from Rongepele Island after the tests were resettled and became objects for the Americans to conduct top-secret research on the effects of radiation on human health (“Project 4.1”). Even then, the consequences of radiation penetrating into the human body were ascertained and documented, but these people did not receive any treatment. The results of the movement and accumulation of radioisotopes in the marine and terrestrial environments of Rongepep and other northern atolls were also not made public at that time.
In 1957, the irradiated Aborigines, as reported in the recently released US documentary film “Nuclear Wildness. The islands of the secret project 4.1 ”(by Adam Horowitz), were returned with great fanfare to their homeland, where they were built new houses in the affected area. This was, say the creators of the film denouncing the US government, a planned experiment. (In the USSR, something similar happened in 1986 after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant — then also with the filing of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU in the affected areasbuilt houses for immigrants.) American medical scientists observed an irradiated population of people in the natural, so to speak, conditions of acquired radioactivity. Officials from the Department of Defense and the US Atomic Energy Commission ran it all.
Physicians landed on the islands every year to examine the deteriorating health of the local population with x-rays, blood tests and other methods. The results were carefully documented and stored in the military and medical annals under the heading "Top Secret."
People on the islands of Rongilep and Utrik got skin burns, their hair fell out. But then in the report of the US Atomic Energy Commission for the press it was said that several Americans and Marshallians “received a small dose of radiation. But burns were not observed. Everything went fine. " In a closed report by the authorities, it was stated that radionuclide fallout as a result of tests under the Bravo project could be contaminated by 18 islands and atolls. A few years later, in a report by the US Department of Energy, it was noted that, in addition to the 18 mentioned, other islands were also polluted, and five of them were inhabited.
In 1955 (at the height of the nuclear tests on the Marshall Islands), the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation was established by a group of well-known nuclear physicists. There was a wave of protests in the United States itself. In 1957, more than two thousand American scientists demanded that the authorities immediately stop testing nuclear weapons. About ten thousand researchers from more than four dozen countries sent a letter of protest to the UN Secretary General.
However, in response to the legitimate demands of the Marshall Islanders to stop nuclear testing and the destruction of the islands, Great Britain, France and Belgium proposed an agreed draft resolution that cynically indicated that the United States has the right to conduct nuclear tests on the trust territory "in the interests of world peace and security."
However, nothing strange. By that time, Great Britain and France were already conducting their own nuclear tests with might and main, and a ban on such tests by the United States would automatically put an end to their own nuclear developments. Therefore, despite the protests of the world community, the United States continued nuclear explosions in the Pacific Ocean.
The Soviet Union, which tested its own atomic bomb in August 1949, also took part in the campaign against nuclear testing in the Pacific. In 1956, the USSR declared a moratorium on tests, believing it was obvious that few nuclear countries would follow its example. But instead of sitting at the negotiating table and deciding whether to stop testing or at least a temporary moratorium on them, the United States and Great Britain conducted 30 new explosions, including on the Marshall Islands. The last "nuclear mushroom" closed the sun over them in 1958.
The first tumors of the thyroid gland appeared in the inhabitants of Rongepep in 1963, 9 years after testing one of the most powerful hydrogen bombs. Due to nuclear tests, about a thousand residents of the Marshall Islands, according to independent international experts, died from cancer and other diseases. Only 1,865 people were officially recognized by US authorities as victims of US nuclear testing. They were paid compensation in excess of $ 80 million. More than 5,000 islanders never received any compensation, because the US authorities did not consider them victims of a nuclear strike or radioactive contamination.Now, apparently, this injustice will be corrected.
But the horrendous consequences for humans and the environment could well have been avoided. And in general, the whole world history could have gone differently if the UN accepted the proposed USSR in June 1946 (even before the first nuclear test on the Marshall Islands) “The International Convention on the Prohibition of the Production and Use of Nuclear Weapons Based on the Use of Atomic Energy in order to mass destruction. " But this document remained a project. Neither the US nor its allies were ready for such a turn of events. They were rushing their other development - an unprecedented race of new weapons - nuclear ones - began. And there are some islands and their inhabitants (not Americans, moreover) for the authorities of the emerging superpower had no meaning.
Only five years later, in July 1963, after exhausting negotiations between the USSR and the United States and Britain, the unprecedented “Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water” was signed. According to Russian experts, published in the Atomic Energy Bulletin, by this time about 520 nuclear tests in the atmosphere had already been conducted on the planet.The USA and the USSR detonated more than 210 atomic and hydrogen bombs, Great Britain - 21, France - 50 and China - 23. France continued tests in the atmosphere until 1974, and China - until 1980.
In 1994, the Bravo Avenue of 1953 was discovered, which included a reference to draft 4.1, and it was written explicitly before the impact occurred. The US government responded to this that someone just returned to the list of projects and inserted project 4.1 there; thus, according to the US government, all actions on the Marshall Islands were not intentional.
While most sources do not believe that the impact was intentional, there is no dispute that the United States has carefully studied the subjects to be tested without obtaining their consent. This Marshall study was in some cases helpful for their treatment, and in other cases it was not.
In 2010, it was estimated that for subgroups, the projected proportion of cancers related to radiation from radioactive fallout from all nuclear tests conducted on the Marshall Islands is 55% (with an uncertainty range of 28% -69%) among 82 people exposed to 1954
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