Bikini Atoll is a group of 23 islands in the Pacific that is forever linked with the nuclear age. Between 1946 and 1958, twenty-three nuclear devices were detonated at Bikini Atoll by the USA.
The local inhabitants were displaced and the tests had major consequences on the geology and natural environment of Bikini Atoll and on the health of those who were exposed to radiation.
In 1968 the United States declared Bikini habitable and started bringing a small group of Bikinians back to their homes in the early 1970s as a test. In 1978, however, the islanders were removed again when strontium-90 in their bodies reached dangerous levels after a French team of scientists did additional tests on the island.
Prior to the explosion of the first atomic bomb on the island, the lagoon at Bikini was designated as a ship graveyard after World War II by the United States Navy. Today the Bikini Lagoon is still home to a large number of vessels.
Map of Bikini Atoll
- ●● Cultural
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Full name: Bikini Atoll
Unesco ID: 1339
- Marshall Islands
Criteria: 4 6
- 2010 - Inscribed
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- Pacific Ocean
- Formerly inhabited islands: Was first evacuated in Mar 1946 for the Atomic Tests which.In June 1968 LBJ promised the islanders that a clean up would enable them to return - this started in 1969. But in 1978 medical examinations identified high radiation levels in the population and another evacuation took place. In 1998 an IAEA advisory group "recommended that Bikini Island should not be permanently resettled under the present radiological conditions. This recommendation was based on the assumption that persons resettling on the island would consume a diet of entirely locally produced food." This remains the situation with Bikinians pursuing law suits against the US for a proper clean up. The atoll remains open with conditions for limited and self sufficient dive and sports fishing tourism
- Situated in one of the SIDS: Marshall Islands 2010
- Uninhabited islands
- Historical events: First test of a practicable Hydrogen Bomb Mar 1 1957
- Cold War: "In the wake of World War II, in a move closely related to the beginnings of the Cold War, the United States of America decided to resume nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean, on Bikini Atol" (unesco website)
- Underwater Archaeology: The Atomic Tests resulted in the sinking of a large number of "test ships". Their underwater remains are referred to in the Nomination File and are part of the site's OUV, They have been the subject of underwater archaeological studies Link
- Built in the 20th century: Nuclear test site from 1946 to 1958
- Built or owned by Americans: Following the end of World War II, Bikini came under the control of the United States as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
- Cultural sites taking up an entire island
- Built or owned by Japanese: "In the early 1900's the Japanese began to administer the Marshall Islands.... The Bikini islanders' life of harmony drew to an abrupt close when the Japanese decided to build and maintain a watchtower on their island to guard against an American invasion of the Marshalls."
- Located in a microstate: Bikini - Marshall Islands 181sq kms/62000
- First inscriptions: Marshall Islands 2010
- Isolated WHS: Roughly 2,645 KM from East Rennell
- Takes more than 5 days to visit: visitable by private yachts, or you could join a shipwreck diving tour - at least 3 days one way from Australia