Navy veterans who witnessed the French atmospheric nuclear explosions in 1973 have higher rates of cancer while many of their children are also suffering fertility problems.
That's the conclusion of new University of Otago research published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal.
The study focused on members and family of the crews of HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Canterbury who were sent to witness the nuclear explosions at French Polynesia's Mururoa atoll.
The survey found 37 percent of the veterans who took part had suffered some form of cancers while 40 percent of the veteran's children reported issues with getting or staying pregnant.
Recruitment to the study was voluntary and only received 148 responses.
Gavin Smith, President of the Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group, says there now needs to be wider research.