The veterans want the cash to carry out scientific research into the nuclear tests after a 60-year fight for justice
ritain’s nuclear heroes are bidding for a £1million research fund to finally prove the awful genetic legacy of the UK bomb tests.
Veterans are hoping the government cash will help them win a 60-year fight for justice after they were left with a crippling legacy of cancers , rare disease and 10 times the normal rate of birth defects in their children.
Nige Heaps of the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association said: “We hope that with this money we’ll be able to do the scientific work necessary to help prove the case, as well as improving the lives of survivors and their children.”
In his March budget Chancellor George Osborne praised the veterans’ campaign for recognition, backed by this newspaper, and announced a £25m fund to help all veterans over 60.
Around 22,000 men, many on National Service, were ordered to Australia and Christmas Island in the South Pacific from 1952 to witness the explosion of dozens of atomic and hydrogen bombs.
They were forced to live amid the toxic fallout for up to a year afterwards.
On their return, they began to report increased cases of blood, thyroid and tongue cancers and rare blood and bone disorders.
Their wives have been found to have three times the usual number of miscarriages and even their grandchildren have eight times the normal amount of birth defects.
The proposed UK research will involve analysis of the DNA in blood and saliva of around 50 surviving veterans, wives and children, to assess genetic damage and see if it was passed on.
It will also look for a “radiation signature” in the DNA, if one is present.
If approved, the money will be released in the spring.