Between 1952 and 1967, more than 20,000 of our military personnel served as part of UK nuclear weapons testing in Australia, Fiji and other Pacific islands. An estimated 1,500 of this group are still alive today.
Evidence suggests that exposure to radiation during the test operations caused a unique and devastating set of injuries and illnesses, to not only these veterans themselves, but also to their children. Nuclear test veterans have higher rates of cancers and blood disorders. Some studies have also linked radiation to higher rates of miscarriage, infant mortality and birth defects among the children and grandchildren of these veterans.
The extent and severity of harm suffered by these veterans and their families goes beyond that which can be adequately addressed through War Pensions.
Now, these veterans are taking the Government to court to get access to their blood records taken during the atomic weapons test, which have been hidden ever since. The Mirror has uncovered 150 documents relating to the blood testing, despite a minister previously telling parliament no blood tests were held.
Access to these records would allow the 20,000 service men and women, and their family members affected by this, the chance to demonstrate that their conditions or injuries were a result of their exposure to harmful levels of toxic radiation.
A £100,000 crowdfunder has been set up to kickstart the legal fight for these veterans, with the Mirror contributing the first £20,000.
Everyone has the right to access their medical records. We are campaigning for a scheme to be established, like those already in existence in the US, Canada and France, which provides lump sum financial compensation to living nuclear test veterans, and to family members who can show that their injuries were caused as a result of their parents' service.