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Nuclear Tests (Radiation Compensation)

Volume 35: debated on Wednesday 19 January 1983

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make proposals to pay compensation to those service men and their dependants who suffered from the effects of radiation arising from United Kingdom atomic tests in Australia and the South Pacific.

No. There is no evidence of anyone having suffered from radiation effects as a result of British atmospheric nuclear tests. However, as announced on 12 January 1983, an epidemiological survey of those who participated in these tests is to be carried out and this will show whether or mot there is any reason to question the validity of existing evidence. In any case, where a service man considers he has contracted a radiation-induced disease due to his service, he can make a claim under the war pensions scheme administered by the Department of Health and Social Security.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will carry out a full survey of service men who took part in the British nuclear testing between 1952 and 1958; if he will ensure that this involves the medical examination of service men; how many service men are affected; how long the survey will take; and whether he intends to publish the findings.

The Ministry of Defence announced on 12 January 1983 that a health survey was to be carried out for British personnel who participated in the British atmospheric test programmes in the 1950s. The survey will cover about 15,000 men and it is intended to publish the results. Planning for the survey is now in hand, but it is not envisaged that individual medical examinations of the test participants will be called for. It is too early to estimate how long the survey will take.