The full story of British nuclear testing in the Pacific
has never been told.
An estimated 22,000 servicemen and around 2,000 native Pacific Islanders may have been exposed to nuclear radiation from British and American thermonuclear atmospheric bomb tests in the central Pacific in the late 1950s and early 60s.
Many nuclear veterans died prematurely from rare and serious diseases. They suffer from high rates of cancer and immune disorders, and some fear they may be passing on genetic defects to their sick children and future generations.
Pacific Islanders who were eyewitnesses to the blasts also claim their health has been damaged by exposure to nuclear radiation.
For 50 years, the British government has met their questions and concerns with silence and denial. No-one has ever acknowledged that Pacific Islanders may have been exposed to radiation from the tests.
In 2007 the first scientific tests proved a link between exposure to nuclear radiation and genetic mutations in New Zealand servicemen who were in the blast zone.
Nuclear veterans from Britain, New Zealand and Fiji launched a class action lawsuit against the British government in 2007, demanding NZ $35 million in claims, but many will die before they see any result.
Only about 3,000 survivors remain, many with life-threatening illnesses. Many will die before they see a court ruling or compensation.
POLITICS: BRITISH NUCLEAR TESTS IN THE PACIFIC AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS – What were the British officials thinking?
by Professor Wadan Narsey