Fallout: The Legacy of Brookhaven Lab

Fallout: The Legacy of Brookhaven Lab

Survivors from an H-bomb test are sent back to radioactive Rondelap island to be used as guinea pigs for research. A 9-part investigative series. (Newsday)

In 1954, the gigantic Bravo hydrogen bomb test blast covered Rondelap, a tiny island in the South Pacific, with radioactive dust. The residents — who were not warned prior to the blast — were subsequently treated for severe burns and other radiation effects by the U.S. military and evacuated from their contaminated home.

Researchers from Brookhaven, an esteemed institution on Long Island, deliberately returned 250 people to their radioactive islands in 1957 in order to study the flow of radiation through their bodies — essentially using the people as guinea pigs.

In Newsday’s first investigative documentary, a team travels to Rondelap island with those survivors and examines the consequences of the decision by Brookhaven lab and U.S. officials to gamble with the lives and health of those 250 people.

Newsday pieced together government documents, archival footage, extensive interviews and video on location to produce this nine-part, epic narrative, capturing the sights and sounds of five decades of racism and shocking government malfeasance.

In 2007, a nuclear claims tribunal awarded the Rondelap residents a billion-dollar settlement for their suffering, yet they still live in exile, and still have not received the promised compensation.

Chapter 1: “No one lives here anymore” (8:01)
Chapter 2: The Cold War Intensifies (2:46)
Chapter 3: “Savages” (2:02)
Chapter 4: Health Problems Emerge (2:37)
Chapter 5: A Cancer Death (2:31)
Chapter 6: Trust turns to doubt (3:41)
Chapter 7: Exodus (2:42)
Chapter 8: The Billion Dollar Decision (3:35)
Chapter 9: Living in Exile (4:49)

CHANNEL: Newsday

Produced by Thomas Maier and John Paraskevas

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