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The sea of death

By John Loretz | IPPNW | July 13, 2018

The US conducted 105 atmospheric and underwater tests at its Pacific Ocean proving ground from 1946-1962. Massive amounts of radioactive fallout from those tests spread across the Pacific, causing severe health effects that have continued to this day.

One of the best-known incidents from this reckless and shameful history was the fate of the Japanese fishing boat the Lucky Dragon. Despite being 90 miles away from ground zero, all 23 crew members were covered in thick layers of fallout from the March 1, 1954 Castle Bravo explosion, which, at 15 megatons, was the largest US nuclear test. The entire crew suffered from acute radiation sickness and were hospitalized for months. One crew member died from his injuries.

As it turns out, the Lucky Dragon was not an anomaly. Japanese film maker Hideaki Ito has produced a documentary called “Exposure to Radiation—Post X Years,” which explores how the extensive tuna fishing ground came to be known as “the sea of death.” The fishing crews had no idea they were working in heavily contaminated waters, and contaminated tuna became a health hazard throughout Japan.

Hideaki and his crew surveyed affected communities some 50 years later, and spoke with public health experts about the limited data that’s available. Field maps obtained from what was then the US Atomic Energy Commission, show fallout paths extending across the Pacific and the US, reaching into Canada and parts of Central and South America. Today, cesium-137 from the tests has been detected in ground samples under houses in Okinawa, Kyoto, and Yamagata prefectures.

Hideaki’s full documentary exists only in Japanese. When he visited IPPNW last fall after a showing at an MIT film festival, we encouraged him to make at least a portion of the film available in English. He has now come back to us with an 11-minute abridged version that we highly recommend to anyone concerned about the health and environmental consequences of nuclear testing and their persistent legacy.

“Knowing how much damage was done in order to make nuclear weapons,” Hideaki told us, “I believe it will be a great accomplishment to abolish them.”

July 13, 2018 - Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. As I’ve previously stated sometime ago, I will redact it here: Chernobyl written by Yablokov, V.B. and Alexey V. Nestereko..a REAL shocker, The ground-shine resulting from an atomic blast is next to nothing (in strict terms of environmental impact) when compared to the hundred or so fission products spewing from reactor cores. The sheer varieties of radioactive isotopes blanketed most of Europe. Practically every exposed living thing was carefully described, tested, and documented. The book is a scientific work of art, showing the almost inconceivable penetration of these reactor core-isotopes and their seeping into many different life cycles. Categorizing, those endless subtle and not so subtle genetic mutations- from the smallest soil micro-organism, to plants and animals. I finally understood the comment made by Dr Helen Caldicott (Australian Physician): I’d never eat any food in Europe! If Edgar Allen Poe were alive today, he’d collapse from reading about the true horror of Chernobyl. Aside; luckily? most of the Fukushima reactor debris went into the Pacific, but not enough to save Japan’s economy or long term environmental consequences.

    I can suggest another reference here, titled: The Effects of Nuclear Weapons (1997) compiled by Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan the book, prepared and published by The Us Department of Defense. The book is a comprehensive summary of U.S. nuclear tests and provides a semi-technical look into what nuclear radiation is, biological effects, nuclear chemistry of the fire ball, downwind stats and even wave front effects both on land and at sea. This, from a third edition (must be out of print now but available)

    Comment by elmerfudzie | July 16, 2018 | Reply


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