Bikini Atoll, a small Atoll in the Marshall Islands, was the testing site for America's nuclear weapons during the Cold War. Native residents of the area were temporarily re-located during testing periods. They were led to believe that shortly after testing they would be able to return home. Sadly, radiation levels at Bikini Atoll remained dangerous after testing was completed and even still today are alarmingly high.
Currently radioactive materials on the island such as cesium-137 produce on average 184 millirems of radiation annually. The more dangerous parts of the island have been known to produce up to 639 millirems of radiation annually. These numbers greatly surpass the 100 millirems per year saftey standard set by the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Scientists predicted that by now the radiation levels in the area would have dropped to between 16 and 24 millirems per year, but it appears that some of their testing was done using outdated methods and from measurements made in the 1970's. While these levels remain high, it is not yet known exactly what impact they may have on residents of the region. Exposure to radioactive materials can have many long term health risks, and can contaminate produce, water, and even the air if levels are high enough. More tests and studies need to be done to know the full effect that these radioactive materials may have on Bikini Atollers, but it is evident that during the testing periods, they were not completely briefed on the future of their beloved home.