Eli5: what happens to the areas where nuclear bombs are tested?


Eli5: what happens to the areas where nuclear bombs are tested?

In: 3652

they get blown the ef up.


Other than that, the rocks literally melt and form a kind of glass. The place is a bit radioactive but most of it goes away quite quickly, but they remain radioactive for a while. The trinity site for instance was opened for tours back already in ’53, but right now the radiation in the area is still 10x larger than background.

Ever seen the documentary show sponge bob? That takes place in Bikini Bottom which is part of the bikini atol. Former site of atomic weapons testing.

Seriously though, many sites stay radioactive and uninhabited. People and animals are affected… and eventually it dissipates. Atomic weapons have less radioactive material than say, Chernobyl. That’s why people live and thrive in Hiroshima today.

Some become [tourist attractions](https://www.nps.gov/thingstodo/alamogordo-visit-the-trinity-site.htm), and you can [dive the wrecks at Bikin Atoll](https://www.padi.com/diving-in/bikini-atoll/) if you have the money.

After the fact? The short lived radiation decays over the course of months to years but the site will maintain elevated (but not dangerous) levels of radiation compared to “normal” background. Most of the locations are still under guard and not open to the public at all times. However it is possible to visit some of these sites in the states on specific days or through a guided tour.

Most nuclear test sites were deliberately chosen to be extremely remote and minimize human impact. The Nevada desert is littered with craters from nuclear testing, a completely inhospitable environment where (almost) nobody lived. Later on we moved to extremely tiny and remote pacific islands where (almost) nobody lived. Russia tested its nukes in Siberia where (almost) nobody lived (and also in Khazakstan where a good number of people lived). Britain tested its nukes in the Australian Outback where (almost) nobody lived. The “almosts” were typically small indigenous populations that were forcibly evicted and often poorly compensated if at all. There have been some cleanup efforts if needed, as different types of nukes produce different kinds of contamination, but for the most part they’ve just been left alone to decay quietly.