Betreff: Nuclear Tests 50 years on: a radiological challenge

Von: Richard Bramhall

Datum: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 15:06:16 +0100



Veterans' study finds shocking rates of congenital disease in second and third generations.

A new study by Green Audit has looked at health in the descendants of members of BNTVA (British Nuclear Test Veterans' Association). BNTVA's members are ex-servicemen who, in the 1950s and '60s, were deliberately exposed to radiation from test firings of nuclear bombs in Australia and at Christmas Island.

Veterans' children and grandchildren were studied for miscarriages, stillbirth, infant mortality, congenital illnesses and cancer. Rates found were compared with national statistics and with the descendants of unexposed controls.

The findings are a challenge to conventional estimates of the health impact of radiation, because high levels of miscarriages, stillbirths and congenital conditions were found, though cancer was not greatly elevated.

None of the results correlates with "doses" recorded by the radiation film badge monitors that some of the servicemen were given to wear during the tests. Neither do the findings correlate with attendance at actual explosions, as the genetic damage is present in the descendants of men who served on test sites only between tests. These men were nevertheless exposed to fallout inhalation hazards. These two considerations strongly suggest that the cause of the health problems is chronic internal radiation, rather than acute external irradiation from the explosions themselves.

The findings confirm and extend earlier research by other workers and point to a need for reanalysis of a 1999 BNTVA database currently held by the University of Dundee.

The Green Audit paper can be downloaded from here (right click the link to download, left click to view).

A study published in May 2007 found a striking rate of genetic damage in New Zealand Navy veterans exposed to fallout from the Grapple series of tests. See this randomly selected article (it's from a Utah paper)or this UK Daily Mail article.

The New Zealand Navy veterans' study can be downloaded from this New Zealand site (right click the link to download, left click to view).

or from the Low Level Radiation Campaign site

See also Sunday Mirror report of the UK / Green Audit study and their tub thumping Editorial.


Peruvian meteorite

Reports of an impact in Peru on 15th September (see e.g. The Guardian) have attributed the incident to a meteorite and a spy satellite. We have no view on which is correct, but we note reports of hundreds of local residents and emergency service people being ill with "radiation sickness". Officials are said to be checking for radiation.

If the origin of any radiation were indeed a satellite's Plutonium 238 power source, as has been alleged, the Plutonium will be hard to find. The failure of the United Nations Environment Programme in an ultimately useless check for Uranium in the Lebanon last year is instructive. Contamination with Plutonium or Uranium requires specialist equipment and specific techniques if isotopes which are almost entirely alpha emitters are to be detected. Geiger counters will not suffice. UNEP did not employ appropriate methods in the Lebanon, though Green Audit did, and provided samples which independent laboratories confirmed contained enriched Uranium. We doubt that Peruvian officials will use appropriate methods in the present case.

For the UNEP precedent see and click the UNEP fails button or this.

Low Level Radiation Campaign 26th September 2007