America’s Atomic Age: The Health and Environmental Consequences of Governmental Negligence in Nuclear Tests

14 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2020

See all articles by Erik Wang

Erik Wang

Phillips Academy Andover

Date Written: May 28, 2020

Abstract

The first atomic bombs tested and detonated in the United States (US) sparked a mass fascination with atomic technology in a period that came to be known as the Atomic Age. The widespread support of the atomic bombings in World War II (WWII) and approval of atomic weapons thus ignited accelerated testing of atomic weaponry. However, with the earliest nuclear weapons tests, the American military paid little attention to the potential consequences of the tests. This paper examines the nature, impact, and implications of two of the major twentieth-century American atomic tests: Crossroads Baker and Castle Bravo. These tests led to serious health repercussions for both native Bikini Islanders and American servicemen involved with the tests. The American government’s reckless approach to nuclear testing in the first part of the twentieth century was not only disastrous in terms of the health issues it created but was also unethical due to its misleading warnings. The environmental and health effects of the US government’s negligent actions then can still be felt today — nuclear waste from the tests remains locked up with little maintenance at the Enewetak Atoll, threatening another potential nuclear disaster due to mismanagement and negligence.

Keywords: Nuclear Weapons, Radioactive Fallout, Castle Bravo, Crossroads Baker, Marshall Islands, Bikini Atoll

Suggested Citation

Wang, Erik, America’s Atomic Age: The Health and Environmental Consequences of Governmental Negligence in Nuclear Tests (May 28, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3714280 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3714280

Erik Wang (Contact Author)

Phillips Academy Andover ( email )

180 Main Street
Andover, MA 01810
United States

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