27 Jan 2015

Good news on atomic test veterans

Congratulations to STAND supporter and nuclear veteran, Dennis Hayden. See Philip Booth's film of him last year at the Remembering Fukushima event in Lydney below plus update re the recent court case.
The Fukushima Day Remembrance event was held by STAND (Severnside Together Against Nuclear Development) on Tuesday 11th March 2014 at Lydney harbour. There will be another event on 11th March 2015. This film is a short interview with Maralinga Nuclear Veteran Dennis Hayden. Seven British Nuclear tests took place under extreme secrecy between 1956 and 1963 at Maralinga, part of the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia (800 kms north-west of Adelaide). The site was also used for hundreds of minor trials, many of which were intended to investigate the effects of fire or non-nuclear explosions on atomic weapons. The site was contaminated with radioactive materials and an initial cleanup was attempted in 1967 while another completed in 2000 cost of $108 million. Debate continued over the safety of the site and the long-term health effects on the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land and former personnel. In 1994, the Australian Government paid compensation amounting to $13.5 million to the local Maralinga Tjarutja people. Today surviving Veterans are still seeking compensation.

The event commemorated the dreadful nuclear accident at the Daiichi nuclear reactors in Fukushima exactly three years ago. It was attended by Molly Scott Cato, prospective member of the European parliament for the Green Party, Steven Parry-Hearn, the Labour party's prospective parliamentary candidate for the Forest of Dean and James Greenwood, who is the Green Party's prospective parliamentary candidate for the Forest of Dean but who was speaking as a member of STAND. You can see a film with those speakers at: http://stroudcommunity.tv/fukushima-lydney2014/

STAND is a non-political, non-violent pressure group dedicated to stopping the building of a new nuclear power station at Oldbury. You can see more at: http://www.nuclearsevernside.co.uk/


Dennis and colleagues have campaigned tirelessly for years on behalf of Nuclear Test Veterans and their families. Dennis in particular has been unrelenting in his letter writing and research. Now at last some good news which should have implications for all those campaigning against the dangers of low level radiation.

Here is a short excerpt from Dennis’s report on a court victory that may overturn the 2012 supreme court verdict.
“The atomic veterans group litigation of over 1000 veterans and widows, led by Rosenblatt Solicitors of London,  was blocked in 2012 by a controversial Supreme Court ruling which stated nuclear veterans and widows claims for compensation had little chance of success. This class action is a moral and ethical struggle by nuclear veterans and families against the Ministry of Defence.  The MoD have concealed and withheld 1950’s and 60’s radiation levels underpinning the main causal link to the veterans legacy ill health, premature deaths and genetic damage passed to their children.

Damage to health from fall-out at nuclear test locations of alpha and beta particles was dismissed by government lawyers at the Supreme Court in 2012 as being just low dose, low level radiation and therefore of no consequence. However, the Upper Tribunal of the Administrative Appeals Chamber, in a damning indictment by Mr Justice Charles over the decision of the Stubbs Ionising Radiation Appeal Tribunal of 2013 not to grant war pensions to nuclear veterans and their widows, has ruled the Stubbs tribunal had “misapplied the law”.

On fall-out , the prime causal link to ill health in nuclear veterans, Mr Justice Charles confirms the source of causation is because of  the very long half-life of fall out radiation, particularly alpha particles, and the ‘undisputed evidence’ concerning how this type of radioactive contamination might enter the veterans by eating, drinking, swimming in contaminated water, and by inhaling this type of radiation.

The view of nuclear veterans is that during the cold war the Ministry of Defence ridiculed any evidence of causation of ill effects from exposure to radiation. When the men began to die in their 30’s and 40’s and their children were found to have genetic damage, the MoD began to vehemently deny any possible evidence connecting radiation.  Now, as a result of the latest court victory and judicial advances in the understanding of the science of causation,  the truth of the MoD’s betrayal of loyal servicemen and their families is now self –evident.”

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