Remembering the horror of Castle Bravo


Filmmaker Andrew Nisker Remembers the Nuclear Victims and Survivors of Bikini Atoll on this Marshall Islands Remembrance Day 

Seventy years ago, on March 1, the U.S government exploded the first of a series of  thermonuclear weapons over Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The hydrogen bomb, codenamed Bravo, had an explosive yield that was a thousand times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Today, the Marshallese honour the victims and survivors of the extensive nuclear testing that continues to affect their people to this day, and has in fact rendered their ancestral homeland one of the most contaminated places on earth. Today, I ask you to join me in supporting  the Marshallese people on their official day of remembrance.

I had the great fortune of meeting former Mayor of Kili/Bikini/Ejit, Anderson Jibas, while filming our documentary Coral Ghosts (2019). We needed to go to the Bikini Atoll to document the damage to the corals (though we were only allowed on the island for an hour due to the contamination), but first Anderson asked us to share a meal with him, as he was very much interested in the power of film to communicate globally. While I knew the broad strokes about the testing that had gone on in the islands, Anderson’s passionate history lesson of the suffering and displacement of his people weighed on my heart and I knew this was a story that needed to be told. The result was the creation of NUKED, a living document of the Marshallese people’s ongoing struggle to survive.

In NUKED, we see previously unreleased footage of several of the blasts, but specifically of how the Bravo Shot led to the poisoning and monitoring of people in Rongelap Atoll, the ‘accidental’ poisoning caused by the brief return, and then the removal of Bikinians to and then from Bikini Atoll after the land and surround sea was irradiated. What we’ve recovered clearly underlines that these were experiments, testing how much radiation a human could take, and what the effect of radiation exposure is. NUKED traces the story of the displaced residents of Bikini Atoll from the first nuclear tests through to present day existential challenges of climate change and their ongoing quest for justice.

What can you do to be an ally to the cause? One way is to write to your congressperson in support of renewing agreements with Pacific allies. Another way is to reduce your carbon footprint. Climate change and rising sea levels threatens the very existence of the islands.

After a successful World Premiere at the Planet in Focus Film Festival NUKED is about to screen across the US as part of the Uranium Film Festival where it won the Best Documentary Award of 2024. Nuked also won an Award of Excellence for Documentary from the Impact Doc Awards.

To organize a screening of NUKED in your community, please contact [email protected]

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