Nuclear Test Medal
latest application numbers
973 applications made by next of kin and 1731 made by veterans as at 11th of September 2023.
update - 25th OF SEPTEMBER 2023
The first batch of medals have been received by Veterans. Medals have been dispatched to the older veterans first. Bob Last - REME at Maralinga for Operation Antler gets the first medal.
1. The Nuclear Test Medal is awarded to UK Service and civilian personnel, and individuals from other nations, who served at the locations where the UK atmospheric nuclear tests were conducted, including the preparatory and clear-up phases (Including Operation CLEAN-UP, Operation HERCULES, and Operation BRUMBY) between 1952 (This date has been selected as the UK’s first atmospheric nuclear test took place in October 1952) and 1967 inclusive.
This includes the following named tests:
(1) Operation HURRICANE
(2) Operation TOTEM
(3) Operation MOSAIC
(4) Operation BUFFALO
(5) Operation GRAPPLE
(6) Operation ANTLER
2. The Medal is also awarded to UK personnel who served at locations where American atmospheric nuclear tests took place in 1962 under Operation DOMINIC. (The vast majority of American tests under Operation DOMINIC took place at British proving grounds at Christmas Island and involved British personnel.)
3. The operational areas for the medal will be defined as the territories, territorial waters, and airspace of the following locations where the tests were conducted:
(1) Christmas Island
(2) Emu Field, Australia
(3) Malden Island, Kiribati
(4) Maralinga, Australia
(5) Montebello Islands, Australia
(6) South Australia
(7) Western Australia
4. The Medal is awarded for service of any length. (Defined as any period of time during one day)
5. Eligible personnel are defined as follows:
(1) UK Service and civilian (Considered to be predominately from the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment and the Atomic Energy Research Establishment) personnel, and individuals from other nations, who served at the locations where the UK atmospheric nuclear tests were conducted, including the preparatory and clear-up phases, between 1952 and 1967.
(2) UK Service and civilian personnel who served at the locations where American atmospheric nuclear tests took place in 1962 under Operation DOMINIC.
(3) Foreign nationals who served at the locations where the UK atmospheric nuclear tests were conducted, including the preparatory and clear-up phases, between 1952 and 1967.
(4) The medal can be awarded posthumously to the legal next of kin of eligible individuals who have since died.
6. UK Service and civilian personnel who contributed to the test programme remotely from the UK, or any other locations, between 1952-1967 are not eligible for the Medal. Eligibility is only for service completed in the operational areas defined at paragraph 3 where the atmospheric nuclear tests were conducted.
Validation of Eligibility
7. In considering whether an individual qualifies for the Medal, evidence must be available to show that an individual had served at the locations where the UK atmospheric nuclear tests were conducted, including the preparatory and clear-up phases, between 1952 and 1967.
8. The primary source to validate if an individual qualifies for the Medal is the Nuclear Weapons Test Participant Study (NWTPS) database, owned and maintained by the UK Health Security Agency. (The successor Agency to the National Radiological Protection Board who compiled the NWTPS Study.) Armed Forces Service records can also be used to establish/confirm eligibility for Service personnel.
9. If an individual has an entry in the NWTPS database, or if the Armed Forces Service records reference the name of an operation or a participating ship, unit, or squadron, or that service was completed in one of the operational (geographic) areas of the tests during the qualifying period, then an individual shall be considered to qualify for the Medal.
10. Where applications need to be considered against the NWTPS database, this will be undertaken by the UK Health Security Agency in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence Medal Office, and in accordance with General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act Regulations.
11. In cases where Service personnel do not feature on the NWTPS database or where evidence of service on the test programme is not recorded in Armed ForcesService records, further information will be sought from the applicant(s) and from the relevant single Service Historical Branch.
12. The Atomic Weapons Establishment will be the responsible authority for making recommendations to the Ministry of Defence on whether applicants who were working for the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment/Atomic Energy Research Establishment are eligible for the Medal if they do not appear in the NWTPS database.
13. Applications received in respect of foreign nationals will be passed to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office for assessment in the first instance. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be the responsible authority for making recommendations to the Ministry of Defence on whether individuals are eligible for the Medal. This process will be undertaken in conjunction with officials from the relevant in-country Embassy/High Commission.
14. Medals for foreign nationals will be passed to the TBC department at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office who will arrange for despatch via the relevant in-country Embassy/High Commission.
15. Given that the Nuclear Test Medal is a commemorative medal, deaths occurring during, or believed to the linked to, the nuclear test programme do not fall within the eligibility for The Elizabeth Cross. This position has been endorsed by the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals.
Annex A: UK Atmospheric Nuclear Test Programme – Summary of Operational Areas and Dates
Annex B: UK Atmospheric Nuclear Tests 1952-1963
Annex C: American Atmospheric Nuclear Tests – Operation DOMINIC – 1962
Ministerial Statement on the Application Process
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) - Updated 13th April 2023.
1. This is a generic medal application form. Is this right?
The application form is the standard MoD application form for medals. It is the correct form and is to be used. In the box which states 'I wish to apply for' enter the words 'NUCLEAR TEST VETERANS MEDAL'. The form needs to be downloaded from this link - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/applying-for-medals
2. It states that I have to print it out and send it to Innsworth Barracks. Is this correct?
You can fill in the form using a computer and then print it out, or just print the form and hand write the application. If you do not have a printer, we are offerring a free service to print the forms and send them to you. Please call or email us.
3. The forms states to include aircrew logbooks, is this necessary?
We have received guidance from the Medals Office that it is not necessary to include the logbooks for aircrew.
4. The veteran whom I am applying for is not a service person, what do I do?
We have received guidance from the Medals Office to include full details in the Service / Regiment sections, so for instance if the person is Royal Fleet Auxillary, enter that. If they are an AWRE Scientist, enter that. If they are not service personnel, but you have a national insurance number for the person, this can help, so enter that onto the form and state it is a National Insurance number.
5. The form states that I will need a Death Certificate for the Veteran. How do I get one?
You will need a death certificate for the Veteran, these can be ordered online at https://www.gov.uk/order-copy-birth-death-marriage-certificate
6. I have no service records or any service number for the veteran. What do I do?
If you can find the service number, this will help the process, but if you have no records, you can apply for them. (Please be aware that this process can take some time) If you were a service child born whilst your father was serving and have your original birth certificate, sometimes the service number is on the birth certificate. You can apply online at https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records/apply-for-someone-elses-records
7. My mother is still alive but suffering from dementia and is in a nursing home. What do I do?
You must tick the surviving spouse box, but you can put the contact details of yourself. The surviving spouse must sign, unless you have power of attorney, in which case you must fill in Part 2 - Power of Attorney.
8. Will there be a ceremony for the first medals to be awarded?
We are working closely with the Office for Veteran's Affairs on a ceremony in late summer, but no details have been finalised yet.
9. Do I send originals of certificates / service history?
Please send copies only, do not send originals. If you are unable to copy the originals, take a picture of them and go into a main Tesco's store and they will print you a copy or take the originals to a Library or any store offering copying services.
10. Should I send the form by Signed For / Registered Post?
It can be expensive to send the information by signed for / registered post, but it can be beneficial and will give you piece of mind that it has been received.
11. Can I check with the Medals office that my application has been received?
You can email them using email@example.com.
12. Do we know the design of the medal and the colour of the ribbon?
The medal design will be presented to the King in April 2023 for his approval. We have no official input into the design or the colour of the ribbon, but we have made our opinion known to the appropriate authorities.
13. Will miniatures and duplicates be available?
We are working with Award Medals who will make miniatures and duplicates available, approximately 4-6 weeks after the medals have been released and ensure that we negotiate a good deal.
14. Will I get confirmation of my medal application?
You will receive a confirmation email from the MoD Medals office with a reference number once the eligibility has been checked.
15. The Generic MoD Line doesn't seem to know about the Medal.
This line is a generic call centre, which does not know the specifics about the medal. Contact us and we will ensure your question is answered.
How to fill in the form - Instructional Video
how the medal was won
update - 28th of july 2023
We now have over 1800 applications that have been processed by the MOD Medals Office, with 1230 veterans who have applied.
The medal design has now been approved and is in production:
The Cabinet Office said:
Since the announcement, the Government has worked hard to ensure that a fitting medal was designed, minted and issued to as many veterans as possible in time for this year’s Remembrance events.
The medal will now go into production by Worcestershire Medal Services, with the first veterans set to receive their medal ahead of Remembrance Sunday this year.
The design features an atom surrounded by olive branches and bears the words “Nuclear Test Medal”. The obverse will bear an effigy of His Majesty the King. The simplicity of the design was chosen to reflect the multitude of different roles that were carried out by the broad range of recipients.
The ribbon design includes white, yellow, black and red, with the lighter blue for the sky and ocean, representative of the Pacific.
update - 27th of august 2023
The first medal has been minted by Worcestershire Medal Services. Nuclear Veteran John Morris and descendant Steve Purse were interviewed by BBC Breakfast on the 26th of August.
update - 7TH OF SEPTEMBER 2023
Johnny Mercer facing Oral Questions in the House Of Commons. Guaranteeing medals for Remembrance Day, but no guarantees for a medal ceremony.