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British Nuclear Testing in Australia

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  • Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia



    This is number 2 of a 15 part blog series, created by Mr Roy Sefton, Chair of the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans Association.

    It has long been established that with regard to the British atomic tests in Australia, Britain treated Australia with contempt and with-held vital information. Eventually Australia did wake up and asked the British to leave.

    This document to Sir Fredrick Brundett, is signed by the British lead scientist (Sir) William Penny. It relates to radiation samples of two British nuclear detonations in Australia. Penny treats the Australians like fools without the ability to rationalise the most basic scientific information. Penny also suggests deceiving the Australians by giving them a small portion of radiation samples, some days after sampling. Then the radiation levels would have decayed and be lower. Clearly the British did not want the Australians to know the correct levels of radiation that was being generated by the atomic bombs.

    You must wonder how much British Operation Grapple mis-information was given to New Zealand Defence and the NZ Government. Such deceit is why NZNTVA cannot trust any Operation Grapple research initiated by the NZ Government. Such research would be based on incomplete information held by the NZ Government and/or supplied by Britain.

    The original is difficult to read . It is copied below.

    22 December 1955.
    Sir Frederick Brundrett, KBE CB
    Ministry of Defence
    LONDON S.W.1.

    We think that it is likely that the Australians will ask us for filters which have been flown at Mosaic and Buffalo. No doubt they will offer very close security treatment in their Atomic Energy Commission. While I am not very keen on the idea of giving them samples, I do not see how we can refuse. They could, of course, fly planes of their own or they could most easily take contaminated soil particles from the close in area.

    They would not know that fall-out contamination from close in areas is very different from samples obtained from the cloud, and only the latter is sufficiently representative to enable quantitative estimates to be made. On the other hand, they are probably very puzzled to know why we fly planes to get samples when it would be very much easier to take a few shovelfuls of dirt from the crater.

    On balance I am recommending that if they ask us we give them a little piece of the filters, but that we wait a few days so that some of short-lived key isotopes have decayed a good deal.

    Do you wish to consult other people on this question before you give your considered view?

    Yours sincerely,

    W. G. Penny

    Roy Sefton QSM
    New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans Association


    • Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

      52.000 and still counting.


      • Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

        ABC {Australia" greenlights Porchlight Films’ Maralinga nuclear testing drama ‘Fallout’

        Production is about to begin on Porchlight Films’ Fallout (working title) for the ABC, a six-part drama inspired by the 1950s British nuclear testing that took place in outback South Australia. Written and directed by Peter Duncan (Rake), the project has attracted a strong cast including Ewen Leslie, Jessica de Gouw, James Cromwell, Ningali Lawford Wolf and Shaka Cook.

        Fallout is set in 1956, at the height of the Cold War, when the Menzies Government has welcomed British atomic bomb testing at remote, ‘uninhabited’ Maralinga, in outback South Australia.

        Leslie plays Major Leo Carmichael (Leslie), an Australian Army engineer and WWII hero, who is charged with keeping the base functioning smoothly. But testing the most dangerous weapon in the world is no easy task for Leo with a commanding officer (Cromwell) who is not fit for purpose; a new meteorologist, Dr Eva Lloyd-George (De Gouw) who starts asking questions; and the government and press watching his every move.

        And as it turns out, the land of Maralinga may not be so uninhabited after all, when Leo’s faced with the arrival of a family of Indigenous Australians, curious about the giant clouds that explode occasionally.

        Financed in partnership with Screen Australia, Create NSW, South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and Head Gear Films, Fallout will be produced by Vincent Sheehan and Tanya Phegan, who co-created the series with Duncan.

        The ABC’s head of scripted Sally Riley said: “The ABC is excited to bring the unique voice of Peter Duncan back to our audiences. His razor wit and satirical retelling of the Maralinga testing will challenge those who know the history, and be unbelievable for those who have little knowledge of what happened on Australian soil. This is a fictional story about true events.”

        Screen Australia head of content Sally Caplan said: “Delving into a unique chapter of Australia’s history, this is an important and compelling Australian drama with local and international appeal. Peter Duncan, Vincent Sheehan and Tanya Phegan are creatives at the top of their game, and we’re thrilled to see this trio combining their talents for the first time. I can’t wait to see the team bring this exciting thriller to ABC prime-time audiences.”

        Create NSW executive director, investment and engagement Elizabeth W. Scott, said: “Blending thriller, political satire and biting black comedy with a star-studded cast Fallout is set to be one of the most memorable series we’ll see on TV next year. Writer/director Peter Duncan and producers Tanya Phegan and Vincent Sheehan will grip audiences at home and internationally with a story that ignites the unthinkable 1950s British nuclear testing in Maralinga, outback South Australia, in a new take on a disturbing historical event.”

        SAFC acting CEO Amanda Duthie said: “We thank and acknowledge the Maralinga Tjarutja community for welcoming this production into Country. Their collaboration with the creative team will enable a highly distinctive project.”

        The series will be distributed internationally by About Premium Content; Fallout marks its first investment into an Australian series.

        Fallout will air on the ABC in 2020.


        • Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

          Originally posted by 1938 Observer View Post
          52.000 and still counting.

          It has only taken two [2] months to increase by 1000 to 53.000 plus


          • Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

            Good to see Gordon... which shows your efforts are paying off!!!



            • Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

              This the first of a series of three articles which covers the experiences of American servicemen

              Conspiracy of silence: Veterans exposed to atomic tests wage final fight

              Published: June 16, 2019

              This is the first part of a three-part series looking at the plight of veterans exposed to atomic radiation testing. The second part detailed the multiple types of exposure vets have had to endure. The third was about how the dangerous cleanup scarred troops for life.

              WASHINGTON – When Lincoln Grahlfs reported to Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in California, he was suffering from a strange abscess on his face, a 103-degree fever and an abnormal white blood cell count.

              The symptoms demanded an unorthodox treatment: A doctor shot the Navy sailor’s face with X-rays with only a shield to cover his eyes.

              Soon after, the abscess cleared.

              “That was the hair of the dog that bit you,” the doctor told him.

              It was the spring of 1947. Grahlfs believed he heard a coded message in the doctor’s words: He knew servicemembers were getting sick from a massive, secret U.S. government project.

              In his 20s, the petty officer first class participated in Operation Crossroads in the Pacific Ocean, the first U.S. atomic bomb tests since the nuclear weapon attacks of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

              Over the next seven decades, more mysterious illnesses surfaced for Grahlfs and the generations who followed.
              “We were experimental subjects who did not give our advised consent to be experimental subjects,” said Grahlfs, 96, a retired sociology professor and author of the book “Voices From Ground Zero: Recollections and Feelings of Nuclear Test Veterans.”

              At least 200,000 U.S. troops participated in the tests and cleanup operations during World War II and later in the Pacific Ocean, the Nevada desert, New Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. They took the human brunt of deadly ionizing radiation that contaminated nearby lands, water and communities.

              Even today, the wide-ranging implications of hundreds of tests conducted from the 1940s until the 1960s and cleanup operations that followed in the late 1970s has yet to be fully understood. In all, the U.S. has conducted more than 900 such tests.

              Until 1996, the atomic vets were sworn to silence, forced to keep their burdens from their families, their friends and doctors. They had limited records and medical help for their illnesses, and faced a threat of prison if they revealed the secret too soon.

              The full article may be read @ the link



              • Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

                This a short audio broadcast [16 minutes] from ABC Australia.

                Only a few short years after World War II ended, with the horrific powers of the atom bomb still fresh in everyone's minds, Britain looked at the wide open spaces of Australia's outback as the perfect place to conduct their nuclear weapons tests.

                For more than a decade, Maralinga was the site of hundreds of experiments affecting the local indigenous people, military personnel working at the site and the landscape itself. Phil Clark heard the story from Professor Deborah Gare from the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle

                Duration: 16min 42sec

                Broadcast: Mon 14 Oct 2019, 10:00pm

                Listen @


                • Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

                  Scottish MPs take up the case for nuclear test guinea pigs

                  Scottish MPs have lambasted the British government for failing to pay recognition and compensation to thousands of British veterans who took part in *nuclear testing in Australia and the South Pacific in the 1950s and 60s.

                  Scottish National Party MP George Adam raised the issue in the Holyrood while other veterans were being remembered this week on Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.

                  “British nuclear test veterans have been completely forgotten… by the nation and the United Kingdom government which carried out tests on them,’’ he said last week.

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                  About 22,000 veterans were part of the UK Ministry of Defence atmospheric nuclear test program at Maralinga in South Australia, Montebello Islands off Western Australia and in Kiribati, then known as the Malden and Kiritimati Islands, in the Pacific. About 1500 of them are still alive.

                  Despite court cases and pressure from veterans’ groups, the UK government has not accepted they were exposed to unacceptable health risks.

                  “We are talking about a state that took young men in national service from one side of the world to the other and dropped a nuclear bomb on them to see how that worked out, how it affected them and how they could function on a nuclear battlefield, of all things,” Mr Adam said.

                  “That is how simple the matter is. That seems to be complete madness to us. It feels barbaric in the 21st century, and it seems almost unbalanced for a state to do that. Who in the 1950s honestly thought that it was a good idea to drop a bomb on people? It is not as if the horrors of Hiroshima had not been seen or what could happen was not known.

                  “However, those young servicemen were used as guinea pigs by an uncaring and distant government.’’

                  Ken McGinley was a 19-year-old sapper building barracks on Kiritimati when at 10.05am on April 28, 1958, a RAF Valiant jet dropped a three-megaton bomb off the coast. McGinley was 35km from the explosion and, wearing just white overalls, was told to turn away and cover his eyes with clenched fists.

                  He described seeing just his skeleton when the flash of the bomb occurred and felt immense heat on the back of his neck similar to a three bar heater.

                  Mr McGinley was then ordered to kill the birds injured by the explosion. “Some were still flying around but they were blind as their eyes had been burnt out. We used pickaxe handles to kill the birds. I did not like doing this but we had no choice because of the terrible condition they were in.”

                  Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart said he had seen the radiation burns of one of his constituents. “They are quite horrific and he has had to go through a lot in his life,’’ he said. “He said to me that other countries have compensated their nuclear test victims, but the UK has not, which he feels is unjust.’’

                  The Scottish parliament heard that in 2001 evidence was uncovered by researcher Sue Rabbitt Roff of the University of Dundee that troops had been instructed to walk across the sites within hours of detonation, exposing themselves to radioactive materials.

                  SNP MP Kenneth Gibson said that evidence of harm to veterans and their families was compelling. Two thirds of British Nuclear Test Veterans Association members had died before the age of 60. A 1999 study by Dr Roff found that of 2261 children born to veterans, 39 per cent were born with serious medical conditions — 14 times the national figure of 2.5 per cent.

                  Scottish Veterans Minister Graeme Dey said studies had not settled whether UK personnel had their health detrimentally affected. The MoD has been undertaking a fourth study that could be published next year.

                  “I understand entirely if the veterans concerned and their families feel that they have had enough of studies, and that the undertaking of such is a delaying tactic. Nonetheless, in a few months’ time, we should have a clearer picture, and we will, it is hoped, be embarking on a process that will offer those veterans some long-overdue degree of closure.’’

                  Jacquelin Magnay