Is 2020 the most significant year for Nuclear Veterans for decades? Across the world, the pressure is being applied to Governments. Runit Dome has attracted the attention of the United Nations. Never has so much been done by organisations for recognition.
Organisations representing the Nuclear Veterans across the world have worked extremely hard in 2019 to co-ordinate efforts to put pressure on Governments to recognise their Nuclear Veterans.
Veterans, descendants and supporters have worked extremely hard to raise awareness levels to their highest for decades. Utilising Social Media to promote the message has proved extremely successful. Videos, documentaries and blogs have contributed to the global message. Documentary makers such as Brian Cowden have produced very powerful videos. ( https://www.nuclearvets.com/briancowdenvideos)
As these organisations continue to fight for recognition, the most important DNA research to be undertaken since the Massey Study should be released by Brunel University. According to the initial schedule published by the NCCF and Brunel, we should see some results from the DNA Study:
Full details of the study can be found at https://chrc4veterans.uk/a-genetic-new/
The British Nuclear Test Veterans Association (www.bntva.com) are awaiting details of their medal campaign. The BNTVA successfully re-established the Advisory military Sub-Committee (AMSC) in 2019. The last meeting of the AMSC was held in November 2019 and a decision will be made in 2020. This campaign has been running for two years and has brought awareness to the British Nuclear Veterans.
In the USA, the National Association of Atomic Veterans continue to fight for full recognition, especially with the Enewetok Cleanup Crews. American Nuclear Veterans can now apply for formal recognition from the US Government via a certificate. The RECA program is still active for another 2 years, providing compensation to qualifying individuals.
The New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans Association continue to fight the New Zealand government for formal recognition of the Massey study. The 2007 study has not been fully acknowledged and their fight continues.
The Australian Ex-Survivors Association continue to support and help the Australian Veterans and a group of British Veterans will be visiting Maralinga in 2020, meeting with representatives of the Indigenous population and visiting the test site.
In France, AVEN have commissioned their own research through OBSIVEN and continue their process of change within the organisation, with a new website and further social media planned.
The number of veterans is diminishing each year, but the descendants have taken up the fight, there are now in excess of 10 Facebook pages which are active, including closed descendant groups as well as the official and non-official pages.
The Nuclear Community Charity Fund (NCCF) have provided help and assistance via their Care and Wellbeing program to numerous British Veterans and their families.
The latest exposure magazine will be published by the NCCF in January 2020, hopefully with updates on the research, the BNTVA, Australian Ex-Survivors Association and NAAV provide quarterly bulletins to their members.
Fissionline continue to provide brilliant articles, you can read the latest editions here https://issuu.com/alanrimmer
Looking at the websites of the organisations (in alphabetical order):
- Australian Ex-Survivors Association do not have a website
- AVEN are undertaking a rebuild of their site with a multi-lingual version, the current version has not been updated. (https://www.aven.org/aven-acceuil)
- BNTVA have updated their site and it is modern and updated regularly
- BH Associates - website has been down for 12 months, says 'New site coming soon'
- Brunel - (Chrc4Veterans) - Very comprehensive web site, but no updates since August 2019 (https://chrc4veterans.uk/a-genetic-new)
- Exposure.Press - updated every quarter when a magazine is published, not updated between editions but very modern with good information (https://exposure.press)
- NAAV have information for their veterans, but it needs a re-design, but is updated regularly (http://naav.com)
- NCCF - website very modern, but not updated regularly as they rely on Exposure Magazine (https://thenccf.org)
- NZNTVA do not have a website
- OBSIVEN - old site was removed and there is no new site to replace it.
- Australian Ex-Survivors Association do not have a page
- AVEN have a page which is updated regularly - 156 likes
- BNTVA have a page which is updated regularly - 1745 followers
- BH Associates - have a page but not updated since 21st May 2019 - 54 followers
- Exposure.Press - have a page which is updated when a magazine is published, not updated since September 15th - 103 likes
- NAAV have a page which is updated regularly - 271 likes
- NCCF - have a page but no updates since May 18th 2019 - 76 likes
- NZNTVA - have a page with updates from Roy Sefton (Chairman) regularly - 923 likes
- OBSIVEN - do not have a page
Not all Good News
Unfortunately, these organisations representing the Nuclear Veterans have experienced issues throughout 2019 with organisations fighting each other, a fake Fissionline was published online attacking the BNTVA, especially their Chairman, Alan Owen.
Since the creation of the Nuclear Community Charity Fund (NCCF), which has provided financial assistance to a number of British veterans and their families. The two UK organisations have continued to compete against each other, rather than work together. The NCCF no longer support any BNTVA activity, even though they received money from the Libor funds to support the BNTVA activities. The BNTVA have had to approach other organisations for help whilst the NCCF refuse to help them, this has been successful with the 2020 All Tests Reunion accommodation fully funded.
At the AVEN conference this year, arguments over Social Media and the study from OBSIVEN caused Jean Francois Grenot to be removed from the study, after years of hard work. Bernadette Bouchet was ousted from her position after providing years of service on Facebook, her unofficial page is now has more supporters than the official page. (1099 vs 156)
At the NAAV Conference, representatives of OBSIVEN and BNTVA argued over research. With the BNTVA refusing to join OBSIVEN.
As these organisations represent the same veterans, are trying to achieve the same goal, why is there no global co-operation? Unfortunately, some of the personalities behind these organisations would rather promote themselves and satisfy their egos. It is time in 2020 to remember why these organisations exist.
As the NCCF funding comes to an end in 2020, does the charity have a purpose? The board have invested the funds provided to them to help Veterans and their families for 15 years through the Care Wellbeing and Inclusion Fund, so they will have some purpose. But is there a need for a separate magazine? Funding will end in 2020 for the magazine. When Brunel publish their research, is there a need for another board of trustees, more expenditure? Once published, is it time to wind up the Charity and give the funds to the BNTVA to be dispersed?
Currently BH Associates provide the support for the NCCF. Their current contract also expires in 2020, there is no need to renew it. Time to concentrate efforts through the BNTVA, let the BNTVA re-distribute the money as it was intended when it was applied for.
Once the results of the Brunel Study are published, is it time for International research? OBSIVEN promised this, but have yet to deliver any research findings. Should organisations co-ordinate research, or is it too complicated across different countries? Perhaps a central repository of research which can be accessed at any time is the way forward.
The Brunel research may not give us the results we are all eagerly waiting for, but it will provide an opportunity to showcase the veterans and again raise awareness of the community across the world. It may provide evidence to support the Massey Study, in which case it will be the turning point for all organisations.
The AMSC may recommend a medal for the British Veterans, but not matter the outcome, the BNTVA will continue to provide support and assistance and will continue to fight.
In the USA, NAAV will continue to put pressure of the democrats and republicans to get bills passed to help their Veterans.
The AVEN / OBSIVEN research when completed may provide more evidence, unfortunately the results will not come in 2020, but continued work must be undertaken.
We need to co-operate, with no hidden agendas, no egos, and remember why these organisations exist. The Veterans, their families. The Veterans deserve recognition for what they were subjected to.
2020 is the most important year for the Nuclear Veterans, everyone connected can ensure that the organisations achieve their goals, by continuing to fight.
Let us ensure that 2020 is the year of the Nuclear Veteran, let us achieve our goals by working together across the world. Leaders of these organisations must communicate and drive the universal message forward. It is time.