15 Mar 2012

Veterans of British nuclear tests in Pacific lose compensation fight

5:36 am on 15 March 2012

Hundreds of veterans of British nuclear tests in the Pacific in the 1950s have lost the latest round of their fight for government compensation.

The claimants, who comprise about of former service personnel from Britain, New Zealand and Fiji, say they were exposed to radioactive fallout and that exposure caused illnesses or disabilities.

By a margin of four to three, judges on the panel of Britain's Supreme Court rejected the veterans' case and ruled the claimants did not have the right to sue the British defence ministry for compensation.

The defence ministry has maintained it's not liable because the commanders at the time did not know the true radiation risks in the tests in Australia and at Kiritimati (Christmas) Island in Kiribati.