On March 1, 1954, a U.S. Navy plane dropped a hydrogen bomb on the Bikini Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands. Code-named “Castle Bravo,” the 15-megaton bomb—a thousand times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan—remains the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated by the United States. 
 
Before testing began, the 167 Marshallese people who lived on Bikini were relocated to other islands. The U.S. military used the Marshall Islands to test nuclear weapons from 1946 to 1958.
 
Today, a handful of caretakers live on Bikini. Most do field work for the U.S. government, including sampling the soil, plants, water, and marine life around the island. Many people from the Bikini Atoll are still hoping to return to their homeland, although tests indicate that the amount of radiation present in the island's food web could be harmful to them. The type of radiation detected at Bikini (cesium-137) has been linked to an increased risk for several types of cancer.
atomic bomb
Noun

explosive device that draws energy from the interaction of atomic nuclei. Also called an atom bomb, a-bomb, or nuclear bomb.

Bikini Atoll
Noun

ring of 23 coral islands in the South Pacific Ocean, part of the Marshall Islands, where the U.S. carried out nuclear tests from 1946-1958.

cancer
Noun

growth of abnormal cells in the body.

detonate
Verb

to cause something to explode.

Noun

scientific studies done outside of a lab, classroom, or office.

Noun

all related food chains in an ecosystem. Also called a food cycle.

government
Noun

system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

hydrogen bomb
Noun

powerful explosive that uses the energy from the fusion of hydrogen isotopes. Also called an h-bomb, fusion bomb, or thermonuclear bomb.

indicate
Verb

to display or show.

marine
Adjective

having to do with the ocean.

military
Noun

armed forces.

nuclear weapon
Noun

explosive device that draws power from the splitting and combining of atomic nuclei.

radiation
Noun

energy, emitted as waves or particles, radiating outward from a source.

relocate
Verb

to move a residence or business from one place to another.

soil
Noun

top layer of the Earth's surface where plants can grow.

U.S. Navy
Noun

military branch whose mission is "to maintain, train, and equip combat ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas."

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