The Cold War, reflecting a period of high tension between the United States of America and the Soviet Union that lasted from the late 1940s to 1991 and deeply affected the whole world, caused very interesting events and the construction of unusual structures around the world. . Here, a structure called the Runit Dome, built by the United States between 1977 and 1980, is one of the most interesting products of the Cold War.

Because the building, built in the form of a giant concrete dome, contains tons of nuclear waste left over from years of US nuclear weapons testing. The Runit Dome, which caused serious health problems for many people who took part in its construction, continues to seriously threaten the lives of people living in the region today. Let’s take a closer look at this extraordinary Cold War nuclear dump.

The Cold War era saw a bipolar world led by the United States and the Soviet Union.

So much so that during this period the first steps were taken of numerous technologies that today occupy a very important place in order to establish “superiority on the other side.” Many extraordinary innovations, from space and computer technology to the weapons industry, from transportation technology to unique spy applications, were the product of the Cold War. However, the most characteristic feature of this tense environment, which has been under the influence of the whole world for many years, was a predilection for nuclear weapons.

Nuclear tensions during the Cold War led both countries to undertake important activities in this area.

However II. The atomic bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima at the end of World War II showed the devastation nuclear weapons inflicted on humanity, yet the two great nations that risked everything to become a Cold War-era superpower saw nothing wrong with fighting with all their might in the race. nuclear weapons…

United States of America II. After World War II, he was looking for a new geography for testing nuclear weapons.

The desired area was found near the Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and Papua New Guinea: the Marshall Islands. The region was deemed suitable for nuclear weapons testing due to its remoteness from the mainland. The indigenous peoples living in this geography of hundreds of islands large and small were nothing more than a small obstacle to the United States in the nuclear arms race.

Between 1946 and 1958, 67 nuclear bombs were detonated in the Marshall Islands!

Moreover, some of the nuclear bombs detonated in the region were 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima! However, US bioweapons testing has also been conducted in the Marshall Islands. In short, the region has become a center of US research on the development of nuclear and biological weapons.

The development of nuclear weapons in the US was largely completed in the 1970s.

Tests carried out in the Marshall Islands have provided very important data to the country that claims to be the superpower of the Western world. However, in exchange for this precious data, the dense forests of the Marshall Islands were replaced with nuclear waste, and the golden beaches with deadly radiation clouds.

The US decided to withdraw from the region in 1972.

runit dome
runite island

Moreover, he agreed to deal with the consequences of the destruction he caused in the region and clean up the islands of nuclear waste. The place where this clean-up work will be carried out most intensively will be Runit Island, which is a center for nuclear weapons testing.

In 1977, the construction of a very interesting structure began on Runit Island.

runite dome

The reinforced concrete structure to be built on the island will be filled with nuclear waste from the region. However, the United States failed to find any private enterprise for the construction of this “nuclear dump”. For this reason, the construction of the structure fell to the lot of engineers, workers and military personnel working for the state.

Between 1977 and 1980, thousands of people, including 4,000 military personnel, built what was later called the Runite Dome.

runite dome

A pit was dug to a depth of 35 Olympic pools, and nuclear waste in the area was covered with shovels and construction equipment.

runite dome

The massive nuclear dump was filled with concrete and covered with a concrete dome about 155 meters long and 46 centimeters thick.

runite dome

In later years, the Runite Dome became known as the “Cactus Dome” and the “Tomb”.

runit dome

Hundreds of people working on the construction of the building got many serious diseases, especially cancer, due to the radiation they were exposed to, and dozens of people died.

This structure continues to pose a serious threat to the indigenous peoples living in the region today.

runite dome

Part of the people who had to leave the geography in which they lived many years ago decided to return to the islands with the US withdrawal from the region. However, the Runite Dome poses a very serious threat to the local people living in the region today.

Because, despite its gigantic size, the concrete dome wears out more and more every year. Some experts argue that due to floods and similar natural disasters that could be caused by climate change, the structure could be damaged and 111,000 cubic meters of nuclear waste could be dumped into the Pacific Ocean.

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