General, Research, Technology

Nuclear Tests Damage the Health of 110,000 Polynesians

French Polynesia is located in the center of the southernpart of the Pacific Ocean and consists of a large number of islands. Beginning in 1966, France began using the area as a nuclear test site. In particular, we are talking about the atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa - coral islands in the form of a solid or broken ring. The classified military program ran for nearly 30 years, until in 1996 people organized a protest after nearly 200 nuclear explosions. Over the past two years, security experts and journalists have looked at more than 2,000 pages of declassified documents and come to a shocking conclusion. It turned out that after nuclear explosions, more than 110,000 people were affected by radiation. This is almost the entire population of Polynesia at the time of the tests. The results explain why most of the locals died from dangerous diseases.

France's first nuclear test in Polynesia, 1966

Consequences of nuclear tests

On the shocking results of thethe research was reported in the scientific journal Science Alert. As part of the scientific work, the experts studied not only government documents kept secret, but also asked the residents of Polynesia to tell about everything that happened during the tests. In total, 193 nuclear bombs were detonated on the islands of Moruroa and Fangataufa, so the locals clearly had something to tell. In addition to them, the military and ordinary people who also took part in the tests shared their stories. Scientists also recreated 3D models of explosions and looked at how radioactive particles could spread.

Moruroa Island, view from space

Simulations showed that tests in 1971 andIn 1974, the largest amount of radioactive particles was released. Judging by the documents and stories of the participants in the events, the military understood perfectly well that contamination of air, land and water could harm the health of local residents. Therefore, the tests should not have been carried out in windy conditions, because in this case the risk of infection becomes too high. But the military ignored this fact and conducted tests even in unsuitable weather.

Fangataufa Island

The most dangerous test was the explosion of the deviceCentaure in 1974. Then 110,000 residents of Polynesia were exposed to radiation. This is a large part of the population of the islands, because in the second half of the 20th century, the population of French Polynesia was 125,000 people. Based on this, the researchers announced that for many years the inhabitants of Polynesia did not even know about the scale of the danger of nuclear tests. However, some of them guessed this when the population suddenly began to die from cancer.

Illustration of nuclear tests in French Polynesia

See also: How do scientists find out about the testing of nuclear bombs?

Danger of radiation to humans

At the moment, compensation for the harm donereceived only 454 people. But there were a lot of applications - about 80% of them were rejected without any explanation. The authors of the study assure that if the population of Polynesia shows symptoms of cancer, everyone can apply for compensation. It is important to note that not only the inhabitants of Polynesia suffered during the tests. Journalists studied the business correspondence of the French Ministry of Defense and found that 6,000 military and civilians took part in the tests. And 2000 of them are either already sick or at risk.

Photo of nuclear tests near the island of Moruroa

Probably one of the most common fearspeople is the fear of nuclear war. Even if a person survives the explosion, most of the surrounding area will be contaminated with radiation. We all know perfectly well that radiation is extremely dangerous for the human body. Only few can explain how it affects us and why it leads to death. If you want to surprise your friends with interesting facts about the effects of radiation on the human body, read this material. It briefly describes how radiation kills and in what quantities. In general, I recommend it to everyone reading.

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While radiation on our planet canspread as a result of a nuclear explosion, it is constantly on Mars. Scientists have long been interested in how it will affect the organisms of the future inhabitants of the Red Planet, and relatively recently they told how dangerous it is. Enjoy reading!