When Adelaide got hit by Maralinga Radiation Fallout - Christina MacPherson
This article is taken from anitnuclear.net.
I was luckily living elsewhere at the time, in NSW … I do remember having bad nose bleeds … we moved to Adelaide a few years later so many of my school and uni and work and sport mates and their mothers were in the thick of the fallout from the British bomb test called Buffalo 3
.. and there are many sad stories of retarded siblings and congenital cardiac issues and early cancers.
In 1956 a series of atomic tests were carried out in the far north of the state at Maralinga, including the dropping of a bomb from a plane on October 11th, with devastating impacts on nearby Aboriginal communities.
Retired academic Roger Cross’s book “Fallout” focuses on the drift of radiation many hundred kilometres south of the site to Adelaide.
“Fortunately for South Australia it was rather a small bomb, but it was dropped from a Valiant Bomber and was designed to explode in the air which it did do,” Mr Cross told Ian Henschke on 891 ABC Adelaide mornings.
“Part of the cloud blew south towards Adelaide and the minor cloud then blew east as it was supposed to across largely uninhabitated areas towards the towns of Sydney and Brisbane and exit Australia between those two cities.
“But the main part of the cloud actually blew down south towards Adelaide and there was great controversy about that,” he said.
Mr Cross says this wasn’t admitted to at the time, causing great controversy.
He says authorities didn’t realise a man called Hedley Marston who was involved with the tests, checking thyroids of sheep and cattle around the area, also set up a secret experiment at the CSIRO building in Adelaide.
Mr Marston recorded a level of 98 thousand counts per hundred seconds the day after the bomb had been dropped.
“The average count in Adelaide at that time was between 40 and 60 counts per hundred seconds,” said Mr Cross.
Mr Marston also carried out some tests on sheep just south and north of Adelaide, finding elevated levels of radiation material in the sheep that were on pasture but not in others that had eaten hay cut the year before.
“This was a very elegant experiment because by luck he had a control, he had this group of sheep that were penned under cover that were just eating hay from previous harvests.”
Mr Cross says Hedley Marston was concerned about strontium 90 in particular and it getting into milk and then being consumed by young children and pregnant women.
Anti-nuclear campaigner Dr Helen Caldicott entered medical school in Adelaide in 1956 and told Ian Henschke there was no mention of a possible health impact of the tests, and she is not aware of a study of the human population following that test.
“We the population of Adelaide were kept in ignorance and for that I feel very bad about that as a doctor.”
She says you would have to test all the population exposed to radiation throughout their entire life and compare it to people who were not exposed to know if the incidence of cancer was high.
“My prediction is definitely I’m sure it was but we don’t have any evidence.
“Adelaide got a hell of a fallout, and I must say as a young medical student not being taught about that I have deep resentment that the public was not informed about it,” said Dr Caldicott.
(Map is a detail from https://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/…/allowable-lifetime-…/ )