In support of all who served at UK nuclear weapon test locations in the 1950's and 60’s.
All comments in this blog are backed by the extensive archives held by nuclear veterans and are stated without prejudice to past litigation . They are stated purely for the benefit of future generations to ensure no UK government of any political shade can ever treat citizens concerns with the same vehement contempt they have treated others in the past who seek the truth.
For many years all of us seeking justice for the nuke vets and families have been puzzled, appalled and disgusted by the apathy and disingenuous of Government failure to recognise the toxic hazard to health of alpha and beta fall out from the British nuclear weapon tests in the 50’s and 60’s.
That is, the abject failure to recognise the self evident ‘prime causal link’ of fall out to legacy ill health and genetic damage to those who attended British nuclear test locations. ( Nuclear Veterans Limitation Trial Judge’s verdict – 2009 )
We and undisclosed others have concluded, after years of deliberately blocked litigation , decades of biased appeal tribunals for pensions etc that justice has been denied to the nuclear veterans and families not by full examination of the truth but by deliberate and callous Government policy of denial and withholding evidence.
However, every so often yet more evidence emerges to confirm the quest for justice and the Government’s discreditable stance and breach of any military covenant is indeed untenable.
The following additional evidence adds to the known of scientific truth that the toxicity of nuclear weapon testing fall out in the 1950’s and 60’s is shown in ALL life-forms as a result of global exposure to bomb fall out radioisotopes. This is a truth that has however particularly relevant nuclear test veterans and families.
1) Source of Additional Evidence
This additional evidence referred to is confirmed in a recent documentary series, aired on BBC 1, TV on 8 August 2019 titled ‘Fake or Fortune’ (FoF). Many thousands of fans here and abroad follow this excellent factual programme which is co- presented by the respected and well loved BBC Journalist Fiona Bruce and the eminent Art Expert Philip Mould. Viewers in UK and abroad greatly admire the detailed detective work and the science used in FoF to help prove whether a work of art can be attributed to a particular eminent artist or whether the work is in fact a fake.
In the 8 August 2019 episode of Fake or Fortune (FoF) a small splinter of wood used in the timber board of a painted still life , thought to be painted by the influential Italian artist Georgio de Cherico in the 1940’s (bought for mere £1 in a Hampshire UK bric a brac shop) was scientifically analysed in a nuclear laboratory to authenticate the year in which the work was painted . The findings are very revealing .....
2) ‘1950’s and 60’s nuclear bomb test fallout material is found in all life forms’.
The carbon dating in the documentary was conducted in a nuclear laboratory by the Florence based Institute of Nuclear Physicists. The method used was stated by the scientist involved to be the ‘bomb curve analysis’ test. That is an accurate and significantly precise carbon dating method which detects “ the rapid rise of radioactive material found in all life forms as a result of the 1950’s and 60’s nuclear weapon test fall out“.
The analysis supports the peer reviewed cytogenetic blood testing of the 2009 Rowland study of genetic damage by absorbed isotopic nuclear bomb fall out in the DNA of nuclear veterans. (see reference below).
The ‘bomb curve analysis’ for the FoF documentary proved the art work being analysed was painted at the right time in the 1940’s (that is prior to the 'bomb peak’ found in any timber growing post -1950) and therefore the painting could not possibly be a post- 1950’s fake of the eminent artists work valued at c. £50,000.
Further independent research data confirms the 1950’s to 60’s global detonation of 100’s of nuclear weapon tests (US, Russia, France and China), many in the megaton range (See reference to Professor Haddow’s 1951 concerns) dramatically increased the level of fall out of the beta radioisotope Carbon–14 in the global atmosphere (of both hemispheres) absorbed into all life forms in a phenomena referred to as the ‘bomb effect’.
3) The ‘one’ benefit of nuclear test fall out referred to in the FoF documentary v. the ultimate cost ?
The scientist at the Florence nuclear laboratory stated the 50’s and 60’s bomb tests caused a significant carbon marker in ‘all life forms’ and this enhanced carbon dating method is regarded by science as ‘ one benefit’ of nuclear weapon fall out.
Fiona Bruce the presenter appeared to be shocked by this revelation. It is known Carbon-14 is a beta radioisotope with a half-life rate of decay of 5,730 years. So even after the banning of atmospheric nuclear bomb tests in the late 60’s the effect remains. This may be regarded as ‘one benefit’ for carbon dating purposes but the toxicity of fall out from nuclear weapon tests included a vast range of alpha and beta radiation which also hold significant negative impact on all forms of life.
The United States’ Livermore National Laboratory say Carbon–14 bomb effect also applies to ‘soft human tissue, hair, bone, seeds, pollen and bacteria‘. This in fact has been shown in science using cytogenetic blood tests of humans i.e. of nuclear workers and nuclear veterans .
A scientific paper published in 2005 ‘Age written in teeth by nuclear testing’ – Nature 437.333.334 - showed the amount of radio carbon present in tooth enamel as a result of bomb testing during the 1950’s and 60’s is a remarkable indicator of when a person is born. It is stated to be a more precise and sensitive method than previous methods for carbon dating.
4) Some Record of Betrayal of Nuclear Veterans.
The 30,000 + UK and Commonwealth Servicemen, who loyally served at British Nuclear Weapon Test locations in the 1950’s and 60’s, not only suffered fall out exposure to Carbon-14 but also from very wide range of other toxic alpha and beta fall out radiation (in addition to massive prompt gamma radiation at the time of detonations). Some of these radioisotopes in nuclear fallout are worth mention below.
Since the 1980’s nuclear veterans and families have found legal cases to obtain the duty of care and accountability entitled to them are impeded by the undemocratic withholding of records of dose rates etc and by the bias of pension and other tribunals to deny any harm.
The records of doses of fall out, medical data etc (reported earlier this year as being placed in a remote new archive at the far northern tip of Scotland) has now been denied access by nuclear historians, other academics for an unlimited period of time. This is censorship worthy of a totalitarian state or a banana republic keen to hide crimes against humanity rather than a supposedly open and honest democracy.
For decades nuclear veterans quest for justice has been referred to as “vexation” by Government officials. The true ‘vexation’ in fact is the Government’s negative attitude to the loyal service by those who were exposed, without protection or respirators, to the toxicity of alpha and beta bomb fall out at locations in the 1950’s and 60’s.
In 2009, an historical peer reviewed publication of a cytogenetic blood test study, not openly available to veterans in the UK, (by Eminent Cytogeneticist Professor Rowland of Massey University, New Zealand) of NZ nuclear veterans who attended British weapon tests showed they had 300% more genetic damage (chromosomal translocation in the DNA ) than other veterans who had not attended such a location. This genetic damage is also known to have passed to the children and grandchildren of nuclear veterans.
In 2012 after several years of litigation the UK’s seven Supreme Court Law Lords by a marginal 4 : 3 verdict (ignoring full presentation of the effect of nuclear fall out) decided, what many consider an unsafe verdict, that the veterans had no case for entitlement because Government experts regard fall out as just ‘low dose, low level radiation‘ and therefore of little consequence to the legacy ill health, premature deaths and genetic damage the have had to endure. This is a verdict considered by many that should be subjected to a full judicial inquiry.
The Government has no historic credibility in this matter. They were made aware of the concerns of nuclear weapon fall out in an archive letter dated 14 November, written by the Eminent Biologist Professor Alex Haddow, Director of the Chester Beatty Research Institute, Royal Cancer Hospital London who wrote to the Director of the Atomic Energy Research Establishment [AERE] of the concerns about the toxicity of the fallout in the huge increase of nuclear weapon testing.
5) A brief Historical Overview of the 1950’s and 60’s Nuclear Bomb Test Toxicity.
Since the 50’s and 60’s the attitude of Government to the impact of fall out on the unprotected veterans who took part in the weapon test experiments is to treat them as an irritation. Officials label the veteran’s quest for information and accountability a ‘vexation’. This negative attitude is far below the standards of democratic openness and honesty expected by loyal servicemen who served the nation towards their injury etc.
From historical records the evidence of Ministry of Defence and Government betrayal over decades is axiomatic. In Professor Haddow’s 1951 letter of concern he stated he and other biologists were ‘anxious’ about the global impact of the increasing number and size of the weapons reaching megaton level being detonated in the atmosphere. He was motivated by the fact he had received to that date no meaningful response to the concerns of himself and other biologists. He wrote:
“ One thing does frankly terrifies me , namely the appearance of morale committees and stooges whose only job appears to be to provide the ‘right’ answers . All we request are the facts . One has in mind not the state of affairs today but what it may be in fifty years ‘ time .”
Professor Haddow’s acute perception and concern in 1951, voiced by himself on behalf of many other academics then and in the following decades, have fallen on the deaf ears of politicians and Government officials but have been confirmed today by fate of nuclear test veterans’ legacy ill health and genetic damage confirming the causal reality of 1950’s and 60’s nuclear toxicity released into the environment.
The eminent biologist, Professor Alex Haddow, did not live to see his perception vindicated (as we know today) but accurately summed up the reason for his concerns at the time by writing:
“ To my mind there appears to be all possibilities [for the lack of response to his and other academics concerns] , ranging from (a) virtual absence of any perceptible risk in the foreseeable time , to (b) the possibility that purely military considerations will over-ride any other advice .”
Nuclear veterans’ research, archives and exchange of views with academics over decades reveal an international policy exists to deny and withhold information of the actual impact of fall out radiation from civil society.
The beta fall out radioisotope Carbon – 14 in fact ( as mentioned above) is just one of many long-lived radioactive isotopes of the 1950’s and 60’s nuclear weapon tests fall out in both hemispheres spread eventually into the lower atmosphere to fall on land an enter the oceans.
These alpha and beta particles have been absorbed by marine life, by inhalation or ingestion by animals on land, by all living plants and the creatures that eat the plants. It has entered the food chain and into all life–forms.
According to the scientist of the Florence laboratory, in the FoF BBC TV documentary (during the last 15 minutes), she regarded the toxic legacy of the nuclear bomb tests as the one ‘useful benefit’ of nuclear bomb tests . This may be so, but it is a direct contrast to the devastating cost from the bomb fall out laced with a Pandora’s box of toxic alpha and beta radioisotopes.
This negative cost legacy of weapon test fall out has been added to by nuclear industrial accident fall out such as from Chernobyl 1986, Fukushima 2011 and countless other reported and unreported nuclear accidents in past decades.
All have released highly toxic man-made alpha radiation for example Radium (absorbed by 1920’s luminous dial painters and the prime causal link to their mouth and throat cancers and premature deaths the first occupational radiation hazard won by workers) , long-lived Plutonium–239 (24,400 yrs half-life) and Pu-240 (6,580 yrs half life) in nuclear bomb material, Polonium 210 in nuclear bomb trigger mechanisms (the poison used to assassinate the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in 2006).
Also toxic fall out beta fall out such as Caesium a reported life threatening radioisotope noted in post-Chernobyl legacy ill health of children and others, Strontium-90 found in the bones of deceased infant children globally from weapon test fall out and Iodine-131 and 132 to name just a few of this so called low level, low dose radiation ignored by the MoD and Government.
6. Footnote and Summary
This is written for the benefit of the younger generation who have to live with the toxic legacy we all have inherited. Things will inevitably change because in any democracy, professing to be open and democratic and listening to the concerns of the public, the truth cannot be hidden forever.
The damage is self-evident and in human DNA. Future generations need to know these facts because the nuclear veterans will not be around to pass the truth of this decade long betrayal to them in person.
UK politicians admittedly today have an extremely difficult legacy to contend with. They have inherited a poisoned legacy of industrial malpractice of contaminating the environment added to which is climate change.
The solution to these problems is not helped by those amongst politicians who say they are democrats yet strive to prevent democratic action to be taken to address the concerns of the electorate. This shortcoming extends in UK to the attempts to deny future generations in UK living in a free, self governing independent democracy and enforce them instead to remain in an inward-looking undemocratic bureaucracy run from Brussels against the wishes of a clear 2016 referendum to leave the EU.
Climate change is happening. This is another inheritance the younger generation have been bequeathed by politicians’ who for decades irresponsibly ignored the damage of uncontrolled industrial growth. The cold war was an arms race between two conflicting political ideologies. The 100’s of bombs tested during the 50’s and 60’s has caused major irreparable damage.
Attempts to redress this situation however is unlikely to heeded rationally by the political ideology of totalitarian Marxist or Facist States. The solution can only be addressed by strong, free and ethically motivated and mature democracy. It is fair to say at this point however that of the 100’s of nuclear weapons atmospherically tested during the cold war the main contributors to the global contamination were the USA and former USSR. The damage by the US and USSR being well in excess of the UK and France.
Britain should lead the way to ethical, responsible democratic Government to address the sins of the past which have become ever more apparent in the present. This would be an ethical and honourable response to successive UK Governments, since the 1950’s and 60’s, who have chosen to ignore the devastating effect of nuclear fall out. The UK’s politicians and officials decided instead to regard alpha an beta fall out radiation as ‘low dose , low level radiation and therefore of no consequence’ .
History has already judged otherwise and this will inevitably continue year by year. The UK’s attitude towards this subject has been one of disingenuous and deliberate denial. This will need to change because unlike the nuclear test veterans future generations, when all inevitably becomes known to them, will have every reason to regard such activity as being one of criminal negligence and act upon it as such.
The ‘bomb curve analysis’, shown to the viewers of the ‘Fact or Fortune’ documentary of 8 August 2019, as being a benefit of the 50’s and 60’s nuclear weapon fall out is just one scientific factor of those experiments. Nothing is said about the human cost. The nuclear emperor is wearing no clothes and the fig leaf of deception has blown away.
The FoF documentary concerning Carbon-14 carbon dating analysis as a product of nuclear bomb tests coupled with the release of the multitude of other toxic alpha and beta radiation in the fallout of the 50’s and 60’s answers the ignored concerns, not only of Professor Haddow and other biologists in 1951, but also many other academics and ordinary citizens who have expressed similar concerns since the dawn of the nuclear age.
With best wishes to all,
Nuclear Test Veteran