8 Jan 2020

New Zealand veterans await nuclear radiation genetic testing study

2:56 pm on 8 January 2020

Veterans deployed to the Mururoa Atoll will wait another two months to find out whether their children and grandchildren may be genetically impacted by nuclear radiation.

Picture taken in 1971, showing a nuclear explosion in Mururoa atoll.

Picture taken in 1971, showing a nuclear explosion in Mururoa atoll. Photo: AFP

A Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group teamed up with Otago University last year to produce a study about whether the families of veterans deployed to Mururoa Atoll in 1973, may have been affected by their parents' exposure to radiation.

University of Otago researcher David McBride is leading the study and said "the public need to know" what veterans had been facing and he hoped this study could help them in their quest for more support for their families.

About 145 people participated in the study which took six weeks. It is now being peer reviewed for the New Zealand Medical Journal.

"When and if our study is peer reviewed favourably then published, I'm hoping that's not going to take too long," he said.

He said he suspected the veterans group would have to wait until March or April at the latest.

"One of the most out-of-the-ordinary things you can have is exposure to nuclear radiation," he said.

"It certainly was a traumatising experience and they are right inthe fact that they may have passed defect onto their children and grandchildren."

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