The United Nations' cultural organization, UNESCO, has added Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean to its list of World Heritage sites. The World Heritage Committee made the decision at its meeting in Brasilia on Saturday.
The United States conducted 67 nuclear bomb tests at the atoll in the Marshall Islands over a 10-year period starting in the latter half of the 1940s.
UNESCO said the tests equivalent to 7,000 times the force of the Hiroshima atomic bomb had major effects on the geology and natural environment of the atoll and on the health of those exposed to radiation. It said the atoll symbolizes the dawn of the nuclear age, in contrast to its image of peace and earthly paradise.
A US hydrogen bomb test in 1954 exposed 23 crew members of a Japanese fishing boat, the Number 5 Fukuryu-maru, to radiation. One of the crew members died about 6 months later. Many people on nearby islands are suffering from radiation exposure even to this day.