& # 39; Middle finger salute & # 39; was built as a warning for future visitors in a dome with nuclear waste
Former employees who have entered a site for radioactive waste in the Pacific left a clear message before they finished their work: a middle finger.
According to Paul Griego, 62, who survived the efforts to build a giant dome on the Enewetak Atoll on Runit Island, a site used by the US government to test 30 megatons of weapons between 1948 and 1958, employees had a status the gesture behind to warn future visitors that may have happened on the site.
Griego said she was the monument to the & # 39; Runit Salute & # 39; called.
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The & # 39; Runit Salute & # 39; is a statute of a hand that leaves the middle finger left behind by employees charged with burying the radioactive test site
"We came to the complement of the dome and it was this huge structure in the middle of the Pacific, it's a monumental size, so we wanted to put something in there," Griego said according to the Daily Star.
& # 39; But all we had was what we had put in such a & # 39; n rubber glove, well, we had had enough, so the idea of putting in a salute with one finger made sense. & # 39;
The dome currently holds radioactive waste from 43 nuclear explosions and has been found to leak that material into the ocean.
More than 8,000 people, including US troops, were working on cleaning up the Pacific Islands, with 110,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris being moved in an explosion crater.
The 30-foot deep crater on Runit Island is buried in a concrete dome, 350 feet across and 16 inches thick.
But now, with the dome weathered by decades of exposure, it is feared that rising seas and storms can see radiation leaking into the ocean.
And many of the troops who went to the middle of the Pacific to clean up the effects of nuclear testing, often without protective equipment, between 1977 and 1979 are now plagued by health problems – with the US government's refusal to pay for the care.
The Enewetak Atoll, a concrete dome with the radioactive waste from 43 nuclear explosions, may leak into the ocean, veterans have warned
With the dome weathered by decades of exposure, it is feared that rising seas and storms can see radiation leaking into the ocean
Griego, who participated in the cleanup and blamed the radiation for a large number of health problems, said the dome was never fit for purpose.
He said: & # 39; We were given an impossible task – to clean up the radioactive fallout of 43 nuclear bombs.
& # 39; When I first arrived, the explosion crater of the dome was open to the ocean – it remained full of seawater even after it was sealed off from the ocean.
& # 39; During my 10-hour working day, I saw the water level in the crater rise and fall as the tide came in and out. & # 39;
He continued: & # 39; No attempt was made to empty or line the crater before the radioactive waste was dumped into it.
& # 39; The coral that created the island is porous and the shock of countless nuclear weapons tests had also broken the coral.
Paul Griego (center, without protective clothing) who participated in the clean-up and blamed the radiation for a large number of health problems, said the dome was never fit for purpose
& # 39; From the first day, the water flows from the lagoon with the tide, creating a gigantic radioactive toilet that is flushed about twice a day in the Pacific. & # 39;
The storms only made matters worse, he said.
& # 39; I experienced the power of a typhoon while on Enewetak, & # 39; he added. & # 39; I believe that the dome can only be one typhoon away from a breach. & # 39;
Rama Schneider, who was driving radioactive waste from island to island in an amphibious vehicle during the cleanup, said it was no surprise that the dome failed.
He said: & # 39; Standing on that island on every island looks like an inch above sea level – and that was in 1979.
& # 39; Sea level and ground level are becoming more and more the same, and it doesn't matter if we are talking about sea level rise, land subsidence or both.
& # 39; Water will always win from man-made objects. & # 39;
More than 8,000 people would later work on cleaning up these islands in the Pacific. On the photo a sign on Runit Island during the cleanup action
Approximately 4,000 US troops went to the middle of the Pacific to clean up the fallout of nuclear tests, often without protective equipment, between 1977 and 1979
Girard Frank Bolton III, who worked as a draftsman during his 14 months at the atoll and signed the building documents for the dome, insisted that the damage to the structure was minimal.
Yet he agreed that radiation was nevertheless washed away from the crater, into the lagoon and finally into the ocean.
& # 39; The dome is designed to slow the migration of radiation and not stop it completely & # 39 ;, he said.
& # 39; Because concrete is porous, the waves and tides continuously pump radioactive water in and out of the structure. & # 39;
Now the veterans are pushing the US government to help with their radiation-related health problems.
It is clear that employees received insufficient protection against photos of cleaning up, which meant they worked shirtless and with basic tools.
This 30 meter deep crater on Runit Island would then be buried in a concrete dome. Above, the crater shortly after it was filled with radioactive waste
Griego, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, says that his service includes chronic bowel disease, beryllium poisoning, weak bones, and fertility problems.
& # 39; All the time I was there, I have never seen anyone wear a hazmat suit, & # 39; he said.
& # 39; We received no radiation safety equipment – not even normal garden gloves – and we usually collected the toxic soil samples with our bare hands. & # 39;
He continued: & # 39; With reasonable certainty, we believe that the failed mission has already cost the lives of thousands of people.
& # 39; Within our surviving group, we lose six to eight men to cancer and other radiation-related illnesses every year. & # 39;
Girard Frank Bolton III, who worked as a draftsman during his 14 months at the atoll and signed the building documents for the dome, insisted that the damage to the structure was minimal
Experts agree that the degree of danger of the Enewetak radiation depends on how much escapes and is taken.
Professor Francis Livens of the Dalton Nuclear Institute at the University of Manchester said that a number of factors, such as the radiation that is being spread, can mean that the danger is low.
& # 39; But if radioactivity is efficiently released and transported to food or water, or otherwise exposed to exposure, the danger is relatively high, & # 39; he continued.
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