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Nuclear Tests

Volume 127: debated on Friday 19 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he takes to monitor the research activities and findings of individuals looking into the consequence of the nuclear tests conducted on Christmas island in the 1950s; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 28 January to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key) at column 309 concerning the study carried out by the National Radiological Protection Board into the mortality and cancer incidence in UK participants in the British nuclear test programme. The study was carried out by the National Radiological Protection Board under contract from the Ministry of Defence. The conduct and form of the study was, however, entirely a matter for the NRPB, with the advice of its medical and epidemiological consultants.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in how many cases claims for compensation or additional pension rights have been made in connection with the 1950s, nuclear tests; and in how many cases payments have been made.

Full records are not available but any such claims from members of the armed forces would be barred by section 10 of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947. A small number of claims have been received from civilians who participated in the tests, but no payments have been made. Claims for war pensions are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what diseases the National Radiological Protection Board considered in the course of preparation of its report on nuclear test veterans; what criteria it used in deciding which diseases or conditions to exclude; and if he will make a statement.

The responsibility for deciding which diseases would be considered in the course of the National Radiological Protection Board study was entirely a matter for the National Radiological Protection Board, with the advice of its medical and epidemiological consultants.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many questionnaires on the medical effects of nuclear tests were sent in 1956 to ex-service men; how those ex-service men to whom it was sent were selected; how many returned a completed questionnaire; what representations he had received from ex-service men present at nuclear tests who did not receive a questionnaire; what response he has made; and if he will make a statement.

Questionnaires on the medical effects of nuclear tests were not sent to service men or ex-service men, in 1956 or at any other time.