One Turtle’s Story


May 23rd is World Turtle Day,
a day sponsored annually by the American Tortoise Rescue organization to
increase knowledge of, and respect for, turtles and tortoises worldwide. 

here are six sequential photographs of a sea turtle being tested for radioactivity
on July 26, 1957, at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Between 1946 and
1958, the Atomic Energy Commission and the U.S. military conducted 67
atmospheric nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands during the early phases of
the Cold War. Government personnel or contractors in these photographs wanted
to gauge the extent to which local sea life might have been impacted by
radioactive fallout.

We hope the turtle wasn’t adversely affected and went on to live a long life despite the possible nuclear contaminants in the local environment!

Series: Jobsite Photographs
of the Pacific Islands, 1953 – 1959. Record Group 326: Records of the Atomic
Energy Commission, 1923 – 1975. (National Archives Identifier: 7584062)