In 1963, as the rest of the world quivered in fear at the thought of the Cold War resulting in nuclear warfare, Switzerland took action, building fallout shelters to house every citizen in the country. In fact, the Swiss government was just following its constitution, which guarantees the safety of everyone should such an attack occur. Today, if a new building or home is erected without a shelter, the owner must pay a tax to guarantee a place in a fallout shelter. In addition, every 10 years, Switzerland delivers potassium iodide tablets to all residents living close to nuclear plants. Potassium iodide prevents the thyroid gland from taking in radioactive iodide.
The nuclear threat:
- In 1961, an American B-52 bomber accidentally released two hydrogen bombs over North Carolina. Had they detonated, they would have been 260 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
- Between 1993 and 2013, as much as 10 percent of U.S. electricity was derived from low-enriched uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear warheads, purchased through the Megatons to Megawatts Program.
- In 2001, the Nuclear Claims Tribunal ordered the U.S. government to pay $563 million USD to those affected and displaced by the 1940s atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands; they still await most of this payment.