12 Jul 2017

Radioactive crater teeming with life

From , 3:04 pm on 12 July 2017

Not many things can survive, let alone flourish, in the radioactive crater at Bikini atoll, in the Marshall Islands.

The site was where the United States tested 23 atomic bombs between 1946 and 1958 - some of the blasts were 1,000 times the strength of the bombs dropped on Japan in the Second World War.

But a team of marine scientists, led by Stanford University's Stephen Palumbi, recently dived into the crater and found an environment teeming with coral and some other animals.

Professor Palumbi says unlike other species, the coral appears unharmed by the high levels of radiation, which suggests something unique is protecting its genes.

He told Jamie Tahana finding out what that is could have implications for human health, and how to keep our DNA intact.