Runit Island

Roughly halfway up the eastern side of Enewetak Atoll lies the island of Runit. Runit was used for a number of nuclear tests, including at least one that spread little bits of plutonium on the island. Since plutonium has a long half life and it was impossible to find and remove all the tiny pieces of it, the island has been placed off limits for the next 25,000 years. This is also one reason Runit was chosen to encrypt radioactive debris brought from the other islands in the atoll. It has two ready made pits--craters from the early Cactus and Lacross fission tests--next to each other on the northern end of the island. Contaminated debris and topsoil were mixed up in a big concrete slurry that filled Cactus crater. The crypt was capped by a 25-foot-high concrete dome seen in the photos below.

Next to the dome covering Cactus crater is Lacrosse crater, a large "tide pool" on the reef by the north tip of the island.

(Thanks to Patrick L. Colin for the use of the aerial photos on this page.)

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