Narrator: This is Science Today. Residents of the Marshall Islands, where nuclear testing took place in the 1950s, could have lower radioactive levels than the average background dose for residents in the United States and Europe. Since the 1970s, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been involved in soil cleanup methods. Lab scientist Terry Hamilton is the Marshall Islands Program Director.
Hamilton: Typically, our recommendation is to remove about 25 centimeters of soil, replace the soil with some crushed coral fill and the crushed coral fill has the effect of also reducing the gamma exposure, and also the inhalation dose from breathing in the dust.
Narrator: When it rains, a common fission product from nuclear testing is transported to the groundwater, mixes with the ocean and is lost from the soil. This rate of loss is much faster than the loss by radiological decay.
Hamilton: Things are becoming safer all by themselves actually and we're hoping that that knowledge will help advance resettlement.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.