(Sample taken from the book, For the Good of Mankind by Jack Niedenthal)
Development of the infrastructure to support the clean-up and resettlement programs on Bikini Atoll started early in calendar year 1991. The program was concentrated at Eneu Island, which had been declared safe for habitation, and is the main support base for the clean-up activities. With the opening of the tourism program on Bikini island in 1996, there were numerous upgrades and additions to the facilities on that island. In 1998, cleanup activities began on Bikini island with a 300 acre land clearing project. In 1999, however, because of the adoption by the Nuclear Claims Tribunal of the 15 millirem EPA radiological cleanup standard in December of 1998, the cleanup of Bikini was put on hold pending further funding from the U.S. government. The reason for this is that the new standards caused a dramatic rise in the overall cost for the radiological cleanup, money which the Bikinians just do not have. Infrastructure improvements have continued on Bikini, however, in order to maintain our tourism program.
Infrastructure improvements to date include:
In addition a medium draft dock and small boat landing were completed at Bikini Island by the close of Fiscal Year 1995.
During Fiscal Year 1996 the Scientific Field Station at Bikini Island was been upgraded to provide a Dive Program Support Base. Upgrades also included a new power plant and fresh water production unit.
During Fiscal Year 1997 construction of the King Juda Health Physics Laboratory was begun and a satellite construction camp was completed.
During Fiscal Year 1998 the first clean-up project on Bikini was completed. This project involved the clearing of about 300 acres of land along the lagoon side of Bikini to prepare for future major radiological clean-up work.
As stated earlier, during Fiscal Year 1999, because of the adoption by the Nuclear Claims Tribunal of the 15 millirem EPA radiological cleanup standard in December of 1998, the cleanup of Bikini was put on hold pending further funding from the U.S. government. A new gazebo was constructed on the beach of the resort.
During Fiscal year 2000, new walk-in freezer equipment was purchased, along with new steel tanks for the dive program.
During Fiscal year 2001 the people of Bikini took over the management of their dive program. We purchased two boats, one for fishing and one for diving, and purchased three vehicles to help support this program. Financially, this was the most successful year ever for the dive program.
During Fiscal year 2002 we built a new visitors four-plex living quarters that increases our resort capacity to 16 beds.
During Fiscal year 2003 and 2004 we did a general upgrade to all of our dive facilities, which included a new refueling station for our dive boat near the dock. We also doubled the capacity of our oxygen generating plant.
During Fiscal year 2005 there have been major upgrades to our resort facilties. We are also building new fuel storage systems for our fuel farm on Bikini Island.
During Fiscal year 2006 continued upgrades on our fuel facilities were completed.
During Fiscal year 2007 continued upgrades on our resort are being completed. Since 2007 work on Bikini has for the most part ended. At this time there is a small crew of workers who are tasked to maintain the facilties on Bikini Atoll.
While the tourism operation continues in 2014, the resort is only served by a liveaboard vessel due to the unreliability of the national airline, Air Marshall Islands. This unreliability of the airline caused the tourism land-based operation to close in 2008 until present.
At this time the people of Bikini remain scattered throughout the Marshall Islands and the world as they wait for the cleanup of Bikini to begin in earnest, mostly due to the fact that the money they have received from the U.S. government is not adequate to fund a full radiological cleanup of the entire atoll.
Marshall Islands Dose Assessmant and Radioecology Program
The United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) has recently implemented a series of strategic initiatives to address long-term radiological surveillance needs at former U.S. nuclear test sites in the Marshall Islands . The plan is to engage local atoll communities in developing shared responsibilities for implementing radiation surveillance monitoring programs for resettled and resettling populations in the northern Marshall Islands . Using the pooled resources of the U.S. DOE and local atoll governments, individual radiological surveillance programs have been developed in whole body counting and plutonium urinalysis in order to accurately assess radiation doses resulting from the ingestion and uptake of fallout radionuclides contained in locally grown foods. This web site provides an overview of the individual radiological surveillance programs currently being employed in the Marshall Islands along with a full disclosure of verified measurement data. A new feature of this updated web site includes a provision whereby users are able to calculate and track radiation doses delivered to volunteers (de-identified information only) participating in the Marshall Islands Radiological Surveillance Program.
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The historical information within this site, while constantly updated, is drawn largely from the book, FOR THE GOOD OF MANKIND: A History of the People of Bikini and their Islands, Second Edition, published in September of 2001 by Jack Niedenthal. This book tells the story of the people of Bikini from their point of view via interviews, and the author's more than two decades of firsthand experiences with elder Bikinians.
Copies can be purchased from this direct ordering link at Amazon.com, or you can also buy and download the Kindle edition.