This Saturday (1st March) is the sixtieth anniversary of the Bravo nuclear test, when the US government detonated a thermonuclear device on Bikini Atoll.
The test, on 1 March 1954, sent a cloud of radioactive fallout across the northern atolls of the Marshall Islands, which were part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, a strategic UN trusteeship administered by the United States.
Part of Operation Castle, Bravo weighed in at fifteen megatons, the largest nuclear device the US military had tested.
The people of the Marshall Islands live to this day with the health and environmental consequences of 67 atomic and hydrogen bomb tests conducted by the United States on Bikini and Enewetak atolls.
Around the Pacific region, March 1 is commemorated as Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific day, remembering the survivors of 315 US, British and French nuclear tests around Oceania.
Let us remember, and let us act.
One hundred and forty six nations - but none of the nuclear powers - have just met in Mexico for the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. There is international momentum to develop a treaty banning the development and deployment of nuclear weapons.
As Rev. François Pihaatae of the Pacific Conference of Churches has stated: “In international forums, including conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, the Pacific must speak with a united voice to bring about attitudinal change in the larger nations. We must speak out, for if we remain silent the larger countries will be under the misconception that their testing, development and construction of nuclear weapons are acceptable.
“That is why we will continue to call for a global ban on nuclear weapons. These weapons are no good for the Pacific, and no good for the world.”
“History Project”, written and performed by Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner
The long shadow of Bravo, Inside Story, 25 February 2014
Banning nuclear weapons: a Pacific Islands perspective, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) report presented to the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Nayarit, Mexico, February 12-14
America’s Nuclear Test Legacy: Still an Issue for the Marshall Islands, video seminar by Giff Johnson, PIDP, University of Hawaii.
“Mission to the Marshall Islands (27-30 March 2012) and the United States of America (24-27 April 2012)” - Report of the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, Calin Georgescu, 3 September 2012, A/HRC/21/48/Add.1
Nuclear Remembrance Day – from Majuro to Arkansas