Deadly levels of radiation have been discovered in a group of halfway islands between Australia and Hawaii.
The radiation levels are said to be 1,000 times higher than the toxic levels found at Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power stations, the MailOnline reports.
The Marshall Islands, which can be found in the central Pacific Ocean, were turned from tropical paradise to nuclear disaster after the US hit them with more than 60 nuclear bombs between 1946 and 1958 in a weapons testing programme.
Locals were forced out of their homes and decades later the nuclear waste is still flowing into the water.
Nuclear waste has been at the front of the public’s mind in recent months thanks to HBO’s hit docudrama Chernobyl, which showed the harrowing first hand effects of radiation poisoning.
People living in close proximity to the nuclear plant died agonisingly painful deaths, as their blood vessels haemorrhaged and their skin melted from their bodies.
Others were left with horrific side effects from cancers to miscarriages, and hundreds of babies were born with deformities.
However, the levels of toxic radiation found inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone are relatively small in comparison to a number of islands found between Australia and the US.
Researchers at Columbia University recently detailed what they discovered on the Bikini and Enewetak Atolls, where tests were also carried out, both of which are located 5,000km from Australia.
People living on Bikini were devastated when the island was hit with the largest hydrogen bomb ever, and researchers recently discovered radiation levels ‘were up to 15 to 1000 times higher than in samples from areas affected by the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters’.
While the majority of people living on the islands were forced to flee their homes, there is still an estimated 50,000 people living there.
Some residents are said to have believed the falling bomb residue was snow, prompting them to run under it, only for them to suffer burns, hair loss, cancer and nausea, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The two most common causes of death on the Marshall Islands are diabetes and cancer, which are said to be due to the high levels of plutonium.
On the island of Runit, the US installed a dome to contain all the nuclear waste after conducting the nuclear bomb tests in the forties and fifties and now it’s believed the waste is leaking into the water.
The researchers wrote, as reported by the MailOnline:
The presence of radioactive isotopes on the Runit Island is a real concern, and residents should be warned against any use of the island.
However, the US has claimed it’s safe to live on the islands, despite locals complaining of birth defects and high cancer rates.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.