A huge concrete dome built on a Pacific island to trap radioactivity from Cold War-era nuclear bomb tests appears to be leaking, prompting islanders to demand an investigation. The Pacific Islands Forum, which represents 18 states and territories in the region, called for an urgent audit of the 400ft-wide, 40-year-old Runit Dome, which covers a radioactive debris pile about the size of the Royal Albert Hall. The waste includes plutonium-239, the fissile isotope used in nuclear warheads that has a half-life of 24,000 years. The dome is a legacy of the US nuclear test programme in the Marshall Islands, a chain of atolls and volcanic islands in the central Pacific between Hawaii and the Philippines where 67 nuclear bombs were detonated from 1947 until 1958. The test programme was the equivalent of detonating 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every day over the 12 years.
Times 21st June 2019 read more »