Parliamentary Inquiry Nuclear Test Veterans

Parliamentary Inquiry
Nuclear Test Veterans
15th & 16th October 2007

Preliminary Agenda

Panel: John Baron MP, Dr Ian Gibson MP, Dr Julian Peto, Dr Chris Bugsby,
John Lowe Chairman of BNTVA, Douglas Hern – Litigation Secretary BNTVA

DAY ONE: New Evidence & Scientific Analysis

10.00-10.15 10.00-10.15 Opening remarks from the Chair
• • Welcome
• • Format and Agenda
• • History and new evidence

10.15 -10.45 Examination of Rowland document by the panel

10.45-11.0 10.45-11.0 Questions from floor to panel

11.00 -11.45 Link to Rowland: His perspective and questions

11.45 – 12.30 Analyses of other evidence and documentation
* Bugsby
* Additional data

12.30 – 1.00 Potential for further study of Veterans (repeating M-Fish assays)
* feasibility with cost
* availability of veterans
* format of experiment.

DAY TWO: Experience of veterans and family

10.00- 11.00 Floor given over to members of BNTVA to present anecdotal evidence of the experience of Operation Grapple.
Questions to answer i) what safety guidelines were in place
ii)individual experiences and events witnesses

iii) immediate aftermath advice/action taken
iv) affect on family – illness amongst families

11.00-12.0 11.00-12.0 Current action against the Government – what is taking place (litigation, individual campaigns, cohesiveness of the movement)

12.00 – 12.30 Taking action forward
What is wanted
What is needed
What is realistic

12.30 -1.00 Summing up


The inquiry will be held in Committee Room 6 in the Upper Committee Corridor of the Palace of Westminster. To get here take the Underground to Westminster (on District/Circle and Jubilee Lines), and exit the station at the first set of stairs by the ticket barrier. At the top of the stairs cross the road in front of you (this can be safely done at the traffic lights just down the road on the right). Once across the road make your way to St Steven’s Gate Entrance. This is the main visitor entrance for Parliament and is clearly marked approximately 200 yrds after crossing the road. After going through the airport style security make your way to Central Lobby (there will be staff to show you the way). I will be on hand to meet you here and take you up to the appropriate room.

Please allow half an hour to clear security

From: Dennis Hayden
Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 7:39 PM

To : The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister
From : The Combined Veterans’ Forum International 19th April 2011

Forwarded for your attention is an open email letter sent to the Rt Hon .John Baron MP on the 18th April 2011 . .

Nuclear Test Veterans and Widows involved in litigation wish the following point to be added to this email . That is, the Minister for Veterans , Andrew Robathan MP should tender his resignation for misleading Parliament .

The Minister made the following comment in the House of Commons with regard to litigation currently proceeding through the courts in answer to a supplementary question about the nuclear tests from the hon. Member for Scunthorpe ( Nic Dakin) during Defence Oral Questions on the 31st January 2011 when the Minister , Andrew Robathan said :

” the courts have found that there is no causal link whatever between many of the disabilities and illnesses suffered and exposure to radiation .”

Paragraph 1.2 (c) of the ‘ Ministerial Code ‘ published in May 2010 states ;

” It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament , correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity . Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliment will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister .”

On the 18th March 2011 the Minister issued an apparent ‘ correction ‘ and said ;

” This situation could have been open to interpretation…”

The Minister has not admitted he was wrong , explained why he had made a misleading statement nor has he adequately explained how the use of the phrase ” the courts have found that there is no causal link whatever ” could have been open to interpretation .

Furthermore , in a report in the Sunday Mirror of the 6th February 2011 – ” Veterans Minister Andrew Robathan snubs Cold War Heroes over BBC Interview ” – the Minister said he was ” not interested ” in talking about why survivors from the Cold War atomic tests suffer cancer , miscarraiges and birth defects in their children .

The Minister , who is paid an extra £31,401 per annum to represent ex – military personnel , is “not interested” in talking about their legacy health issues is clearly unfit for purpose and should resign .

This is an open email letter from the Action Executive , the Combined Veterans’ Forum International .
for distribution to Members of Parliament , the Media , and Veterans Internationally – 19th April 2011

18th April 2011 .



Dear Mr Baron ,

This is a message to the Prime Minister .and the Deputy Prime of the Coalition Government from the nuclear test veterans and widows involved in litigation .


Your initiative in 2007 , with Ian Gibson MP , to hold the Parliamentary Inquiry ( Nuclear Veterans ) followed by the recommendation for a mediated settlement of claims is a commendable act of political honesty . The fact that your advice was ignored at Prime Ministerial level has become a lost opportunity by the coalition’s political leadership to avoid an inevitable embarassing end to this long running matter .

In the attached Parliamentary Inquiry Agenda of 2007 you will remember that on Day One from 10.15 to 11.45 the agenda was to be an examination by the panel of the Massey University study , questions from the floor and a link to Professor Rowland to hear his perspective and questions .

As you know, on that day , this agenda was totally hi-jacked by a scientific presentation of the discredited 1980’s and 1990’s epidemiological and statistical studies cancer and mortality studies carried out by the National Radiological Protection Board ( NRPB ) , now the Health Protection Agency . The NRPB studies involved no blood testing and relied only upon death certificates .This clearly set the pattern for the government’s future attitude and lack of willingness to adress the genetic damage suffered by nuclear test veterans .

The possibility to avoid political embarrassment is even more acute because the same advice was given in the High Court verdict of Judge Foskett following his decision in 2009 to allow all 10 test cases in the Limitation Trial to proceed to full High Court trial . Litigation is still proceeding inexorably towards this end despite all attempts by MoD lawyers to delay and derail the process .Since your Inquiry and Judge Foskett’s recommendations more tax payer’s money has been wasted and more damning evidence of the MoD’s scientific dishonesty over causation for legacy health issues continues to emerge day by day , month by month . Even to the point of the Redfern Report ( 2010 ) showing the MoD ( pages 89 and 90 ) is at the heart of an illegal , without consent , programme of the removal of body tissue , organ and bones for destruction of evidence from deceased nuclear veterans as an alternative to blood testing them during their lives to afford remedial health care .

The truth of the matter is the Ministry of Defence has lost sole control and understanding of the science of causation of radiation damage to health . Judge Foskett in his limitation trial verdict acknowledged fall out inhalation and ingestion of alpha and beta particle as the ” prime causal link ” to ill health in nuclear veterans . The Judge also acknowledged , as ” crucial and pivotal” in his verdict , the Massy University study showing, from blood tests rather than death certificates , evidentiary – science of significant elevated genetic damage in those who had attended a nuclear weapons fall out location compared to men of similar age and habit who had not .

Much contradictory nonsense has been recently put forward by scientists sponsored by nuclear industry and governments to cover up the recent tragic Fukushima fall out accident as was done for the Chernobyl fall out accident in 1986 . This scientific dishonesty has of course been applied to the genetic damage and legacy health issues in nuclear veterans for many years .

With regard to the nuclear veterans the cover – up to pervert the truth of the science is also international as the forwarded CVFI open email letter of the 6th April shows .

The attached letter to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency ( ARPANSA ) – Australian equivalent to the UK’s Health Protection Agecy ( HPA ) , formerly the discredited NRPB , is sent for information . It illustrates very clearly the denial of justice for nuclear test veterans is one of intergovernmental political and scientific collusion. The CVFI doubts ARPANSA will respond to our email . The Ministry of Defence we believe will also continue to ignore the truth of the science on damage to health from ingested and inhaled radioactive fall out .

ARPANSA’s blatant scientifically dishonest critique of the New Zealand nuclear veterans study by Massey University , showing genetic damage in nuclear veterans, has been written as much for the benefit of the Australian government to deny justice for Australian veterans mounting a case against Canberra as it has been written to assist the UK Ministry of Defence in the legal case progressing through the courts here . Chairman of the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans Association , Roy Sefton is also engaged in an on – going struggle with a Ministerial Advisory Committee in New Zealand ( the so-called “Expert Panel” of scientists none of whom are molecular cytogeneticists ) who have also been trying, unsuccessfully , to undermine the Massey University study .

The reason the CVFI believes you should have copy of the forwarded email is because you have some understanding of the science and also , along with a growing number of Parliamentarians , an understanding of the duplicity and bad faith of the Ministry of Defence towards the nuclear test veterans.and widows .

The particular scientifically dishonest omission from all government sponsored radiation protection agencies is to ignore radioactive fall out , whether from damaged nuclear reactors or from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing . It is , as you know , these alpha and beta particles in nuclear fall out that when inhaled or ingested into the body become the prime causal link to ill health and premature deaths in the victims . A point that will be demonstrated yet again , in the coming years , from the miscarraiges , still births , legacy health issues and increased cancers that will result from the tragedy of Fukushima .

With thanks again for your support in seeking a mediated settlement of our claims as recommended by the Parliamentary Inquiry ( Nuclear Veterans – 2007 ) , chaired by yourself and Ian Gibson MP , and by Judge Foskett in his limitation trial verdict of June 2009 .to allow all 10 cases to proceed to full High Court trial .

It is a pity , that he will no doubt say cannot be helped , that the Prime Minister did not act upon this advice but rather has listened to the advice of those in the Ministry of Defence who persist in promoting an ethos of scientific dishonesty with regard to the nuclear weapons test experiments carried out in the Pacific and Australia . .

More embarassing information will emerge as time goes by . Whatever the outcome of the current litigation and the MoD’s hope , that by delay , all involved will be dead , the MoD will not succeed . The issue of genetic damage to our servicemen will not go away . The truth of the science of causation is clearly understood and cannot be ignored , now , with the health legacies of depleted uranium use since 1991 , tomorrow and in the future the MoD will face endless and bitter litigation . It is time for responsibility and accountability with honour rather than prolonged political embarassment and damage . The choice now is , as it has always been , a political one .

Attempts to block the truth of the science is possible outside of a court of law . But in court , with expert scientific witness, the MoD’s case will be savagely destroyed along with the credibility of political leadership who have supported the MoD’s tactics at great expense to the tax payer for so many deceptive and disgraceful years

Yours sincerely ,

The Action Executive ,
Shirley Denson – Dennis Hayden – Ken McGinley ( UK ) – Roy Sefton ( NZ )
The Combined Veterans’ Forum Interenational .
This email may be forwarded at the discretion of the CVFI to others interested in this subject .

an open email letter for international distribution – April 6th 2011

To: Professor Peter Johnston
Branch Head
Environmental and Radiation Health
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

Copy: Jeff Liddiatt – Secretary
British Nuclear Test Veterans Association ( BNTVA )


Your reference attached : Letter to Mr Jeff Liddiatt – Secretary BNTVA 16 Feb 2011


Dear Professor Johnston ,

Critique by ARPANSA of the 2008 Massey University Study of elevated translocation
frequencies found in New Zealand Veterans who attended Operation Grapple .

The Combined Veterans’ Forum International ( CVFI ) thank fellow nuclear veteran members of the BNTVA for sending to this Forum a copy of your critique of the Massey University study (2008 ) with the attached letter of above reference.

Your critique is scientifically dishonest , biased and politically motivated . Our reasons are set out below in detailed answer to the three points of summary conclusions you make in your letter of the 16th February 2011 .

In essence ARPANSA is fully funded and its members salaries are paid by the Australian Government . A clear case of he who pays the piper calls the scientific and politically expedient tune . This is a tune of scientific dishonesty played at great expense to the Australian tax payer. A tune motivated to deny justice to the survivors and the premature widows of servicemen from the UK , Australia , New Zealand and other Commonwealth nations who served at nuclear test fall – out locations of the UK’s nuclear weapons test experiments in Australia and the Pacific .Your remit, as explained below , is biased to deny justice for genetically damaged nuclear veterans and also to protect the multi-billion dollar Australian uranium mining industry .

In your letter of the16th February 2011 you wrote in summary :

1) The available evidence is that the sailors were not exposed to high doses of radiation in the tests – they were at least 37km from the explosion and upwind of the fall out plumes .

Available evidence infact clearly shows the 551 New Zealand naval personnel during their time at Operation Grapple sailed over the ground zeros of the explosions and beneath fall – out of alpha and beta particles .

” A nuclear bomb exploded near the surface of water vapourises large amounts of water which is carried into the nuclear cloud . This is followed by a period of heavy local rain referred to by Gladstone as’ rain out’ which is a special category of fall out .”
( Gladstone 1957 , 1964 and Dolan 1977 )

“Rain Out” occurence at Christmas Island is backed by two reports and by expert witness at the time.

1) ” Meteorogical records , airflow and other factors affecting local fall – out from British nuclear tests at Chrsitmas Island in 1957 – 58 .” ( Busby and Williams – 2010 ) gives detailed eye – witness evidentiary accounts of ” rain-out ” following detonations from veterans on land , in the air and at sea . The evidentiary eye witness account from the air is from expert observer / witness, RAF Navigator , Joe Pasquini observed from a position in a Canberra flying high over Christmas Island at the time .

2) Furthermore , a completely independent report in 2002 by Lt Cmdr Gerry Wright ( RNZN Rtd.) of the sailing positions of the NZ frigates beneath the nuclear clouds confirms the pattern of fall out from the Busby and Williams report of 2010 . Wright’s report gives additional eye witness ” rain – out ” accounts by the NZ naval crews .

This is a similar sitution of extreme hazard that ARPANSA would recognise with alarm if the recent fall out from the nuclear reactors at Fukushima ( alpha particles of plutonium and uranium etc etc) had headed west towards the east coast of Australia rather than to the east across the Pacific .


Further comments by Professor Chris Busby ( Scientific Secretary to the Eurpopean Committee on Radiation Risk – ECRR ) on the ionised fall out at Christmas Island in 1957/ 8 states :

” This rain was likely to be from water and debris in the column formed at the nuclear cloud and will contain large quantities of tritium and carbon – 14 ” . ( our italics : tritium and carbon -14 refers to ionise particles of hydrogen and carbon ) .

In her book ” No Immediate Danger – Prognosis for a radioactive earth ( 1985 ) ” , Dr Rosalie Bertell internationally acclaimed radiation biologist and public health expert wrote :

” it is tritium , carbon -14 and stratospheric pollution from weapons testing which is already in the biosphere and which will slowly pollute the food chain , undermining the life nurturing power of planet earth .The military cover up of the nuclear bomb testing is to continue the pretence that ‘low level’ ( that is ingested and inhaled alpha and beta fall out ) is no harm to human health and presents no immediate danger . Nourishing this myth is political rather than scientific .”

Your statement that the NZ sailors were not exposed to high doses of radiation refers only to gamma radiation released at the time of the detonations and totally ignores the long term hazards of ingested short range emitting radionuclides from fall out . This is scientific truth that ARPANSA politically and expediently ignores .

Ionised rainfall and other debris in nuclear weapons fall out contains a deadly mix of alpha and beta particles such as caesium 134 & 137 , plutonium 239 & 240 , polonium – 210 , iodine 132 , strontium -90 etc etc etc with half lives from 2 days to 24,000 years plus . When inhaled or ingested into the body these radioactive particles lodge in body tissue , in organs and in bone . Over a period of 5 , 10 or 20 plus years, as internal emitters , they destroy cells , damage organs , cause onset of early cancers and premature deaths .

In an email response to the CVFI dated 4th October 2010 , sent with the report on fall out at Christmas Island Professor Busby wrote :

” I must draw your attention to tritium and carbon – 14 . I have calculated the amounts of tritium produced at Christmas Island as Ektabequerels (10E + 18 ) more than the total released at Chernobyl . This would have been totally invisable to detectors and film badges but would have , as radioactive tritiated water , contaminated the drinking water supply , the lagoon , the sea water , the food and the air .”

It is clear that radiation protection agencies such as ARPANSA and the UK equivalent the Health Protection Agency ( Former National Radiological Protection Board – NRPB ) ignore the issue of local exposure and localised damage from nuclear fall out . Competent scientific authorites now recognise that internal emitters and external absorbed gamma radiation cannot be considered to have the same health outcome .

Furthermore , Dr Rosalie Bertell in a recent comment on the Fukushima reactor disater , dated 20th March 2011 , explains ” although it is true that alpha particles , the primary radiation in early fall out , can be stopped by a sheet of paper , when this same radioactivity is released inside the body it does about 20 times the cellular damage as the equivalent dose of x – ray .”


The UK’s CERRIE ( Committee Examining Radiation Risk from Internal Emitters ) – Majority Report 2004 set up by Environment Minister , Michael Meacher MP says in Chapter 2 , Risks from Internal Emitters, part 2 : para 11 that dose is questionable and meaningless . The report states :

” There are important concerns with respect to the heterogeneity of dose delivery within tissue and cells from short range charged emissions , the extent to which current models adequately represent such interactions with biological targets , and the specifications of target cells at risk . Indeed , the actual concept of absorbed dose becomes questionable , and sometimes meaningless , when considering interactions at a cellular and molecular level .”

In other words where hot or warm plutonium , uranium and other alpha and beta fall out particles from nuclear weapons tests are ingested or inhaled into body tissue , organ and bone and where sequentially decaying radionuclides like strontium – 90 etc etc are organically bound ( that is to DNA ) ” dose ” means nothing . Only tiny amounts of radiation absobed into the body are needed to alter a persons genetic code .

If this science means nothing to ARPANSA then ARPANSA can no longer compare , for example , nuclear industry discharges into the atmosphere and nuclear weapons test fall out with the 2 millisieverts we get every year from natural background radiation , or cosmic rays received by flying , say , in an aircraft from Perth to Sydney .

But none of this is any suprise to nuclear test veterans because ARPANSA is similarly scientifically dishonest and politically motivated as the UK’s NRPB ( now HPA ) .

Dr Keith Baverstock , senior grade scientist from 1971 to 1991 at the UK Medical Research Council Radiobiological Unit , Chilton and from 1993 to 2003 Head of the Radiation Protection Division of the World Health Organisation ( Europe ) described the UK NRPB as :

” In this case it is clear that the science and the associated ethics ( of recognising the need for an independent study of nuclear veterans’ health ) have been perverted for political ends . It is sad the UK NRPB , which should be an independent and technically competent body , was complicit in this process .( to conclude that there is no case for compensation to nuclear veterans for injuries that are claimed as due to radiation .)

( Taken from ” Science , Politics and Ethics in the Low Dose”, a Debate , Edinburgh , July 2004 ) .

Radiological Protection in Australia has its origins in the 1950’s when it was headed by Professor Ernest Titterton who was revealed , during testimony at the Royal Australian Commission into nuclear tests in Australia in the mid 1980’s, as an agent of the British government with a remit to hide the truth of fall out from the Australian public and subsequent radiation damage to health . The co-operation between the Australian and UK governments , with the help of agencies such as ARPANSA , continues to this day as a result of the 1993 Treaty series . This is a reciprocal treaty to assist each nation on possible compensation claims made by nuclear test veterans .

This is a cosy cartel of deception to work together and means the critique of the Massey University study by ARPANSA is as much for the benefit of the Australian government , to deny claims for damage from Australian veterans , as it is to assist the UK Ministry of Defence in defence of current litigation proceeding through the High Court in London

Your summary also stated :

2) The DNA damage identified in this group of veterans is consistent with the average found in the wider New Zealand population for people of this age .

This is a lie and a blatant example of scientific nonsense and dishonesty by ARPANSA .

The Massey University study found that the New Zealand veterans who took part in Operation Grapple at Christmas Island in 1957 to 58 had three times the level of chromosomal translocations in their DNA than the control group of men of similar age , background , smoking habit etc who had not attended a nuclear weapons test fall out location .

That is a signicant , elevated ratio of genetic damage between those who attended a nuclear weapons test location and men of similar age and background who did not .

Your summary also stated :

3) There were significant flaws in the study design of a previous Massey University study that claimed evidence of radiation – related DNA damage in this cohort of sailors .

Protocols and methodology for the Massey University have been peer reviewed and also double checked independently by Britain’s leading cytogeneticist , Dr Rhona Anderson of Brunel University , who found them to have been “meticulous” in detail .

Judge Foskett in the 2009 Limitation Trial verdict said the Massey University study was “crucial and pivotal” in his judgement to allow all 10 test cases to proceed to full High Court trial .The Judge also said ” the prime causal link to ill health in nuclear veterans is from fall out radiation .”


ARPANSA’s critique of the Massey Univeristy study lacks any scientific credibility .

One place this lack of credibility will be savagely exposed is in the courts . Over 40 cases involving radiation and health , including nuclear veteran and widow tribunal cases , worker exposure , nuclear pollution and exposure to depleted uranium weapons fall out have been won in the UK courts in recent years . This is because the courts rely on credible evidence . ARPANSA’s critique may appear impressive to the uninformed outside of court but in an open court , under close examination the critique of ARPANSA will end up in total and deserved ridicule .

This Forum appreciates ARPANSA may be disappointed that by working within a structure of supporting political agendas you have left yourselves open to an accusation of perverting the truth of science by ignoring the health affects of ingested and inhaled radioisotopes into the body . This raises serious questions as to whether ARPANSA are engaged in protecting the public from radiation damage to health or protecting the Australian government from future litigation claims.

You ended your letter to the BNTVA by saying ; ” I am happy to talk with you and your colleagues by phone about the study and its findings .” .

The Combined Veterans’ Forum International have only two questions to ask about your study and its findings and that is :

1) Have you or any of the co-authors of ARPANSA’s critique of the Massey University study any qualifications in molecular cytogenetics or in fundamental research on the health effects of internal radiation both at the theoretical and epidemiological level , including genotoxic effects on the element uranium ?

2) Are you or any of your co-authors prepared to travel to London to defend ARPANSA’s critique in the High Court ?

Yours sincerely ,

Shirley Denson , Dennis Hayden , Ken McGinley (UK ) and Roy Sefton ( NZ )
The Action Executive
the Combined Veterans’ Forum International ( CVFI )

Ken McGinley is the founder and former Chairman of the BNTVA from 1983 TO 2001

Roy Sefton is Chairman of the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans Association ( NZNTVA )


Or email the CVFI c/o or phone Shirley Denson on UK 0208 6464098 .

The Combined Veterans’ Forum International ( CVFI ) is a self – funded Forum of nuclear test veterans and widows in support of all who took part in the UK atmospheric nuclear weapons test experments between 1952 and 67 .The CVFI is not affiliated to any political party or doctrine and believes the truth of the science of radiation damage to health is the only arbiter in any nuclear health protection debate not the nuclear protectionist agendas of politicians , government sponsored radiological health protection agencies or nuclear industry .

This is an open email letter for international distribution to politicians , the media , veterans associations and the Atomic Veterans Litigation Group engaged in ltigation to secure adequate recognition and compensation for those who took part in the British nuclear weapons experiments .

Legal Advisor to the CVFI is Ian Anderson , International Advocate and Attorney at Law ( New York )

Company representing the Atomic Veterans Litigation Group is Rosenblatts , Solicitors of London.


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