From: "\"Doc\" Bruce K. Melson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
417,000 Intentionally Exposed To Atomic Bomb Tests
By Colin James
The Federal Government has released a preliminary list of more than 17,000
military and civilian personnel who served at the British atomic tests in the
1950s. The register - first recommended by a royal commission in 1985 - will
be used to conduct national studies into how many of the men have died since
the tests, especially how many suffered from cancer.
The mortality and cancer studies are expected to confirm long-standing claims
by veterans that thousands of army, navy, air force personnel and civilians
died as a result of being exposed to radiation.
The veterans plan to use the register in their campaign to win compensation
for mental and physical illnesses they believe were caused by their
involvement with the nuclear explosions.
Their claims have been strengthened in recent months by the release of secret
documents detailing how hundreds of servicemen were deliberately exposed to
radiation as human guinea pigs.
The Advertiser has obtained new evidence that, in addition to servicemen,
civilians were ordered to watch four explosions at Maralinga during the 1956
test series codenamed Operation Buffalo.
The Advertiser has also obtained documents which confirm earlier reports that
inadequate attempts were made by the British and Australian governments to
remove desert Aborigines from the vicinity of the tests.
The Veterans Affairs Department said it had been unable to compile a list of
Aborigines who may have been involved with the 12 explosions at Emu Field,
Maralinga and the Montebello Islands, off Western Australia, between 1952 and
Instead, the 257-page list posted on to its website yesterday contained the
names of 1658 army, 3235 navy, 3223 air force and 8907 civilian personnel who
were part of the five-year program. The list was compiled from extensive
searches of Defence Department records, personnel files of private
contractors, the 1985 royal commission report, security cards issued for
Maralinga and lists previously prepared by veterans groups or government
However, the Veterans Affairs Department warned the roll was likely to
contain errors because "of the length of time that has elapsed and the
difficulty in locating and verifying authentic records".
Veterans Affairs Minister Bruce Scott last night said a consultative forum
would meet next month to determine how the health studies would be conducted,
with a senior researcher expected to be announced in August.
"This is a major task and when complete will provide information about the
nature and extent of any health problems suffered by veterans of the atomic
tests," he told the SA RSL state congress in Adelaide.
The Atomic Participants Nominal Roll can be inspected on www.dva.gov.au while
veterans or civilians with corrections or additions can call 800 445-006.
"When the way comes to an end, then change - having changed, you pass through."
Bruce "Doc". Melson