Beer named for nuke test site draws crit­i­cism

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NATION & WORLD -

HAGATNA, GUAM — A Texas-based com­pany is fac­ing crit­i­cism for nam­ing a beer after the lo­ca­tion of nu­clear tests that re­sulted in the con­tam­i­na­tion of a Pa­cific is­land chain, a re­port said.

The Man­hat­tan Project Beer Co. is un­der scrutiny by Mar­shall Is­lan­ders who were ex­posed to high lev­els of ra­di­a­tion by U.S. govern­ment re­search from 1946 to 1958, The Pa­cific Daily News re­ported last week.

The govern­ment and res­i­dents of the Republic of the Mar­shall Is­lands have ob­jected to the com­pany’s beer named Bikini Atoll, an area of the is­land chain that re­mains un­in­hab­it­able.

The name is in­sen­si­tive to peo­ple still deal­ing with the ef­fects of ra­di­a­tion decades later, is­lan­ders said.

The com­pany has sev­eral beers with nu­clear-themed names in­clud­ing Half-life, Plu­to­nium-239, Par­ti­cles Col­lide and 10 Nanosec­onds.

“Our beer named Bikini Atoll was not cre­ated to mock or triv­i­al­ize the nu­clear test­ing that took place in the Mar­shall Is­lands,” the com­pany said in a so­cial me­dia post. The com­pany is “creating aware­ness of the wider im­pacts and im­pli­ca­tions” of U.S. nu­clear re­search pro­grams, the state­ment said. The com­pany’s web­site does not men­tion nu­clear test­ing in a de­scrip­tion of Bikini Atoll beer.

Fol­low­ing what it de­scribed as “sig­nif­i­cant ha­rass­ment and death threats” the com­pany said it will take no fur­ther ac­tion or make ad­di­tional state­ments.

Mar­shall Is­lands Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­re­tary Jack Nieden­thal wrote a let­ter to Man­hat­tan Project Beer co­founder Misty San­ford on Thurs­day say­ing she should con­sider the suf­fer­ing caused by the test­ing.

“The bot­tom line is your prod­uct makes fun of a hor­rific sit­u­a­tion here in the Mar­shall Is­lands — a sit­u­a­tion that I prom­ise you is still on­go­ing — to make money for your com­pany,” Nieden­thal wrote. “This is un­ac­cept­able to us.”

AP

Res­i­dents of Bikini Atoll, Mar­shall Is­lands, gather March 16, 1946, for their last church ser­vice be­fore be­ing trans­ferred by the U.S. Navy to Ron­gerik Atoll. A Texas-based com­pany is fac­ing crit­i­cism for nam­ing a beer after the site of nu­clear tests that re­sulted in the area’s con­tam­i­na­tion.

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