• Short Summary

    ON JULY 1ST, 1946, THE UNITED STATES PUT 90 OBSOLETE NAVAL VESSELS IN THE LAGOON OF BIKINI ATOLL IN THE MARSHALL ISLANDS; FILLED THEM WITH THOUSANDS OF INSTRUMENTS, PIGS, GOATS AND RATS, AND THEN EXPLODED AN ATOM BOMB WITH AN ENERGY YIELD OF 20,000 TONS OF TNT.

  • Description


    TEST FLEET IN LAGOON; U.S. NAVY MEN PREPARING FOR BLAST; ATOM BLAST AND "MUSHROOM" RISING; DEBRIS ON ISLAND TODAY; WRECKED BUILDING AND BUNKERS; CEMETERY; THICK UNDERGROWTH; LAND CLEARING OPERATION; COCONUT SEED NETS; MAN FISHING.




    Initials LD/A/JF/ES



    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: ON JULY 1ST, 1946, THE UNITED STATES PUT 90 OBSOLETE NAVAL VESSELS IN THE LAGOON OF BIKINI ATOLL IN THE MARSHALL ISLANDS; FILLED THEM WITH THOUSANDS OF INSTRUMENTS, PIGS, GOATS AND RATS, AND THEN EXPLODED AN ATOM BOMB WITH AN ENERGY YIELD OF 20,000 TONS OF TNT. NOW, 23 YEARS LATER, THE ISLANDERS WHO EVACUATED BIKINI FOR THE EXPERIMENTS ARE PREPARING TO RETURN TO THEIR HOMELAND AND THE ISLAND ITSELF IS BEING PREPARED FOR THEIR RETURN.

    THE TEST "FLEET" WAS MADE UP OF U.S. VESSELS AND CAPTURED GERMAN AND JAPANESE SHIPS -- THESE INCLUDED BATTLESHIPS, AIRCRAFT CARRIERS, LANDING CRAFT AND SUBMARINES. THE VESSELS WERE POSITIONED STRATEGICALLY THROUGHOUT THE 25 X 20 MILES (40 X 32 KILOMETRE) LAGOON, SO THAT THE EFFECTS OF THE EXPLOSION COULD BE MEASURED AT DIFFERENT DISTANCES, TO CALCULATE HOW A FLEET -- ANY FLEET -- COULD STAND UP TO AN ATOMIC ATTACK.

    THE U.S. NAVY -- 220 SHIPS WITH 42,000 MEN -- WAS POSITIONED OUTSIDE THE LAGOON IN THE OPEN SEA. OVERHEAD, A B-29 BOMBER CARRIED "GILDA", 20,000 TONS OF TNT IN THE SHAPE OF THE BOMB. THEN CAME THE EXPLOSION -- THE FIRST OF 23 SUCH TESTS WHICH WERE TO TAKE PLACE ON BIKINI DURING THE NEXT 12 YEARS.

    SINCE 1958 THE ISLAND HAS BEEN TOTALLY NEGLECT -- AND FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS IT IS REPORTED THAT THERE HAVE BEEN NO MAJOR TRACES OF RADIO-ACTIVITY. SO NOW THE ISLANDERS -- EVACUATED IN 1946 -- MAY RETURN TO THEIR HOME. BUT, BEFORE THEY CAN DO SO, MUCH WORK HAS TO BE UNDERTAKEN TO MAKE THE DESOLATE PLACE A HABITABLE ISLAND ONCE AGAINST. DEBRIS OF CONCRETE AND IRON WHICH MIGHT STILL CARRY VESTIGES OF RADIO-ACTIVITY MUST BE DUMPED IN DEEP WATERS OUT AT SEA; OLD BUNKERS AND CONTROL BUILDINGS MUST BE TORN DOWN OR RECONDITIONED FOR USE. OVERGROWN VEGETATION MUST BE CLEARED TO MAKE WAY FOR CROPS.

    THE 160 BIKINIS WHO LEFT IN 1946 TO LIVE ON OTHER ISLANDS IN THE MARSHALL, NOW HAVE DOUBLED TO NEARLY 350 -- BUT THEIR LEADERS FEEL THAT BIKINI WILL BE ABLE TO COPE WITH THE GROWTH OF POPULATION -- EVEN THE PRE-1946 WATER SHORTAGE PROBLEM IS EXPECTED TO BE OVERCOME FOR, AS ONE OF THEIR LEADERS SAID: "EACH INDIVIDUAL HOME WHEN CONSTRUCTED, WILL COME EQUIPPED WITH A 500-GALLON SYSTEM."
    THE ATTITUDE OF THE BIKINIS TO THEIR EXILE WAS EXPRESSED BY ANOTHER OF THEIR LEADERS: "I FEEL THAT WHAT THOSE PEOPLE (THE AMERICANS) DID, WAS SOMETHING THAT TODAY, ESPECIALLY IN THE AREA OF THIS NUCLEAR FIELD, HAS HELPED NOT ONLY THE UNITED STATS, BUT PERHAPS OUR PEOPLE AND MANY OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT KNOWN YET."
    AT PRESENT THERE IS A U.S.-BIKINIAN WORK FORCE OF SOME 60 PEOPLE WORKING ON THE REHABILITATION OF THE ISLAND -- AND IT IS EXPECTED THAT IN FOUR YEARS TIME, WITH SUBSISTENCE CROPS (SUCH AS COCONUTS) WELL UNDER CULTIVATION, SOME OF THE PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO START SETTING UP HOMES AGAIN -- AND THAT BY ABOUT 1980 THEY SHOULD ALL BE BACK, WITH FULL HOME PRODUCTION UNDER WAY AND WITH A STANDARD OF LIVING FAR HIGHER THAN THAT WHICH EXISTED PRIOR TO THEIR DEPARTURE -- A STANDARD ACQUIRED FROM A WESTERNISED WAY OF LIFE IN THEIR SELF-ACCEPTED EXILE.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA5GIGL3LDAJG760HBLV2VF4T46
    Media URN:
    VLVA5GIGL3LDAJG760HBLV2VF4T46
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    25/11/1969
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:03:01:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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