Radioactive Pollution

In light of the debate surrounding the proper method for disposing radioactive water from Fukushima site, the effect of atomic bomb testing and radioactive wastes’ dumping on the oceans’ health is being discussed.

Bomb Testing

The extensive testing of atom bombs in marine areas in the past is one of the reasons for the high radiation levels in the oceans. USA was the first country to test an atom bomb in such a manner. It was carried out on the Pacific Bikini Atoll in 1946. More than 250 such tests were carried out on the high seas. Most of these tests were conducted by France (in French Polynesia) and by USA (in Marshall Islands and Central Pacific region).

Dumping of Radioactive Wastes

Another reason for radioactive pollution of the marine environment is the large scale dumping of radioactive wastes. Between 1946 and 1993, over 200,000 tonnes of radioactive wastes was dumped into the oceans. These wastes were disposed in metal drums which were not designed for permanent containment of such wastes. Other sources of pollution are sunken nuclear submarines and nuclear ammunition.

Countries that Dumped Nuclear Wastes

A huge portion of the nuclear wastes was dumped by Britain and the Soviet Union. USA had dumped over 90,000 drums and 190,000 cubic metres of radioactive wastes into the North Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean by 1991. Other countries that dumped massive amounts of wastes into the oceans include France, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, etc.

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