22 Apr 2009

New study announced on effects of 1950s atomic tests

6:38 am on 22 April 2009

The British government has announced a new study into the health of veterans of atomic tests at Christmas Island in the 1950s.

The announcement comes just before a judgment is expected in a landmark court case in which 1000 British, New Zealand and Fiji test veterans are suing the British government for negligence.

The veterans claim they have suffered cancers, skin defects and fertility problems because of exposure to radiation.

In January, the High Court in London heard that researchers had found a small group of New Zealand test veterans had suffered genetic damage.

Veterans Minister Kevan Jones said the New Zealand study on genetic damage would be followed up.

He said this work would be underway before the end of the year.

The Liberal Democrats welcomed the announcement. But the party said the veterans needed proper recognition and compensation, not endless reviews and studies.