Nuclear Test Veterans' Health Research

Defence written statement – made at on 21 April 2009.

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Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Veterans)

The Government have been actively engaging with the concerns expressed by our nuclear test veterans that they and their offspring have been adversely affected by their participation in the British nuclear tests of the 1950s and 1960s.

The wider published peer-reviewed epidemiological evidence to date has not demonstrated a general link between veterans' ill-health and participation in the tests. Similarly there is no peer-reviewed evidence suggesting that their children and grandchildren are at increased risk of genetic abnormalities.

The Government are, however, determined to address the ongoing concerns of nuclear test veterans. I had a constructive meeting with the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association (BNTVA) and interested MPs on Monday 20 April. I am pleased to report that the BNTVA have agreed to help identify a representative sample of veterans and their descendants with a view to conducting an assessment of their health needs. I therefore announce today an intention that the Ministry of Defence will work with veterans and experts to finalise the details of research to investigate the particular health needs of nuclear test veterans and their offspring with a view to identifying priorities and taking action to improve health. I also intend some follow-up to last year's New Zealand chromosome study. The aim will be for projects to be of practical relevance to veterans with results delivered to a reasonable time scale. The work will be tendered in the normal manner and should be under way before the end of this year. A working group including representatives from the BNTVA will be established to take these projects forward.

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Dave Whyte
Posted on 23 Apr 2009 8:00 pm (Report this annotation)

I find it refreshing to see that Kevan Jones is at last talking about taking action regarding the atrocities committed against our loyal Troops in order to further the knowledge of nuclear weapons.
Our Troops were treated as the proverbial 'Human Guinea Pigs' and successive Governments have not had the courage to admit their failings.
Governments have concealed the vital evidence which shows the problems Troops were forced to endure.
If the Troops were not subjected to massive doses of ionised radiation perhaps Government Ministers would like to explain why there is such a large amount of personnel who have been rendered sterile, or their wives have suffered from mis-carriages or still births.
Why not go into the archives and produce the radiation film badges and blood counts that successive Governments say were lost?
No decent organisation doing research lose vital evidence. This was lost deliberately to avoid admitting the dangers our Troops were faced with!