“Researcher Sue Rabbitt Roff at the University of Dundee surveyed 2,500 veterans and their children in 1999, reporting unusually high rates of infertility and birth defects.
Britain’s Sunday Mirror newspaper took on the veterans’ case in their Justice For Nuke Vets campaign led by Mirror columnist Richard Stott (1943-2007), but the government continued to deny any links between the veterans’ health and radiation exposure.
In 2007 two scientific studies demonstrated links between the veterans’ exposure to nuclear radiation and health problems:
A Massey University study of New Zealand nuclear test veterans found genetic damage at three times the normal rate – comparable to victims of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.
An independent study by the group Green Audit looked at long-term effects of radiation exposure in British veterans and their families, finding significantly higher rates of miscarriages and stillbirths, infant deaths, childhood cancers, and inherited genetic deformities.
As a result of the studies, 700 New Zealand and UK veterans launched a class action lawsuit against the British government claiming NZ $36 million in damages. The Ministry of Defense countered with a statute of limitations defense, saying veterans should have made any legal claims within three years of suffering an injury, a tactic that could delay the court hearing for several years.
Following a parliamentary inquiry in early 2008, the government agreed to fund new studies into veterans’ health and agreed to pay interim compensation of 4-thousand pounds each.
Of 22,000 who served during Operation Grapple, only 3,000 are still alive.”
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