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Risk And Vulnerability At Contaminated Sites In The Pacific And Australian Proving Grounds From A 'Long-Term Stewardship' Perspective: What Have We Learned?

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Chapter Summary

When contaminated lands are not cleaned up to levels that support unrestricted use - as they have not been at the majority of sites used to produce or test nuclear weapons - long-term stewardship is required to protect humans and the environment from harm. Following partial cleanup, some sites - including some former test sites in the Pacific and in South Australia - have been returned to conditions supportive of restricted human use in short periods of time. How uncertainties, risks, and vulnerabilities are conceived, analyzed and responded to by authorities has major implications for who can live in the restored lands and under what conditions. Although the decision pathways have differed in the cases of the Maralinga Lands of South Australia and the Marshall Islands sites that are the focus of this chapter, the current situations at both locales raise questions of whether and how long-held cultural practices of indigenous peoples can co-exist with long-lasting environmental contamination.

Keywords: Australian test sites; contaminated resources; cultural vulnerability; long-term stewardship; Maralinga Lands; Marshall Islands; Pacific Proving Grounds; risk



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