The British Nuclear Test Veterans Association & an apology from the British Government

by nuclearhistory


Thanks Col.Hainge, but I had read the Royal Commission Report Volumes, which is why I wrote in the first place. I appreciate the actual consideration but there is something bigger than either Hainge or Langley going on here. Col. Hainge did his duty in answering a letter written by a British Citizen to the British Government. Col. Hainge and I as individuals are irrelevant to the governmental process.

I find the British Government’s response nothing more than a very late self serving feeble Adaptive Response. The British Government may be happy to march around in a cycle of political and legal adaptive responses.

But every self protective dose of misinformation it gives itself, the more urgent becomes the need for the next allegedly protective dose of deception. After a certain accumulated dose of self protective mystique is reached, it will, as a valid legal entity, drop dead from the effects of the self inflicted accretions.

It almost happened as a result of the discovery made when the Premier of South Australia visited the Maralinga test site in the company of ARPANSA scientists who monitored the area. The Premier of South Australia was dressed in nothing but a suit. Some years later the British Government paid millions of pounds sterling to the Australian Government to partially fund the cleanup of the radio-chemical contamination left at the atomic test site. This, after decades of denying that fact of the matter. A fuller account of the story is available here:

I have always been very perplexed by the event in 1984. Why were Premier John Bannon and ARPANSA scientists apparently surprised at the radiological findings during the visit to the nuclear test site?

It is on the public record that the Australian Navy monitored the nuclear test sites of the Monte Bello Islands, Western Australia until the mid 1970s..

Are we to believe that the Australian Army did not do the same on the two mainland test sites?

So where is the data?
Why keep it from the people of South Australia, including it’s elected leaders?

Following the cleanup Operation Brumby in the 1960s, the British Government assured the people and governments of Australia that the place was clean and safe.

It was not.

The cleanup operation which commenced in 1994 ended in 2000.

The last bomb was detonated there in 1957.

The chemical explosive tests, impact tests and other safety trials continued there for a period after.

However, the time between the last bomb detonation and the commencement of actual (Brumby was counter productive – you don’t plough the desert and then pretend you’ve done a good job) cleanup was 37 years.

During that time the nuclear authorities of Australia and as a consequence, the government of South Australia, believed the safety assurances issued by the United Kingdom and did not allow much credit to any contrary view. Any such contrary views expressed by people were viewed by authorities as ignorant utterances made by people who were not qualified to report.

Some individuals in authority considered many of the people who made such claims to be as crazy as cut snakes. Severe sufferers of a malady today termed “Melt Down in Reason

And one authority figure actively promoted the view, via the mass media, that at the very least, dissenters were weak minded purveyors of panic who believed myths and mystique and who were utterly incapable of appreciating science and technique. The man was Prof Titterton. (“The British Nuclear Weapons Programme 1952 – 2002”, Editors
Douglas Holdstock and Frank Barnaby. Cross, Roger, Chapter Nine, “British Nuclear Tests and the Indigenous People of Australia”, pp 81, ISBN 0- 7146-8317-5, Frank Cass & Co, London.)

Whenever an Australian hears the Titterton Line repeated by an authority in this land, the above needs to be remembered. With various degrees of readiness, according to the will and experiences of the listener.

Today ARPANSA and the Australian government tells this to us: “Since the closure of the range in 1967, numerous studies have been carried out to map and characterise the contamination at Maralinga including detailed studies in 1984-85 by the Australian Radiation Laboratory (ARL, which became ARPANSA in February 1999). These studies revealed that contamination levels at the site were much greater than earlier acknowledged.”

Mission: Find the Australian military files relating to the radiological monitoring of the Emu and Maralinga Test Sites which took place between 1957 and 1973 and ask “What the Hell were you doing Your Majesty?”

During the British Government’s Nuclear Bombing of Australian target sites during the period 1952 to 1957, Australian, Canadian and British personnel were placed at various distances from the point of origin of instantaneous bursts of gamma photons generated by fission bombs. There was a failure to consider civilians in specific ways, as determined by the Royal Commission. The most vulnerable were the most ignored.

The British and Australian Governments have always maintained that the distances between troops and bomb detonation points was such that no harm and perhaps benefit came to the troops as a result of their exposures.

Sadly these same governmental authorities claim to have lost the Maralinga Nuclear Test Facility Hospital Records. So a significant portion of relevant data is missing.


1. Not all personnel received the same exposures.
2. Not all personnel experienced the same accumulated dose.
3. Many personnel were engaged in various duties such as target response vehicle recovery, shoveling dirt near ground zeros into containers for scientific study, steam cleaning, aircraft filter paper recovery, vehicle and aircraft repair, radiac surveys of test sites (Naval – Monte Bello until the 1970s, (Army – Mainland sites until mid 1970s so I believe)) and so had been ordered into areas in which internal exposure to radio-chemicals was a distinct reality. *1

One would have thought that any evidence of Adaptive Response benefit or any evidence of benefit from Hormesis would show up in the studies of the health of the nuclear veteran cohort.

Do they?

Neither Adaptive Response nor Hormesis are new concepts.

An originator of the initial US Atomic Energy Commissions sponsorship of the claimed health benefit of exposure to ionising radiation – Hormesis – was Marshall Brucer. Next post I go see what the surveys show and compare them to what Brucer, Scott (New Mexico) and Sykes et al claim to be the case.

Surely the same informational deceptions won’t happen in Fukushima Prefecture Japan, the authorities say.

Enlightenment is a Night Breaker. So I sincerely hope they won’t. But I am a pessimist.

The reality is, I have watched Japan via it’s media for many months and I have remembrance each time I do. A learning of Japan since March 2011 is to remember the “Maralinga Process”.

In terms of information use by officialdom, I see the same things happening. Again. Again and Again. Political Adaptive Response. It does not work. Each deception requires the protection of another one and another and another one. And then the legal entity known as Government falters and fails to be a valid legal organ of a nation. Normally in democracies, leaders are forced to start thinking of their nation instead of self protection at a critical tipping point. And so in the 1990s, for example, the USA had it’s ACHRE investigation. In the 1980s, Australia had it’s Royal Commission. (as faulty as that was imo). I will probably not be alive when Japan has it’s equivalent in relation to the goings on as a consequence of it’s nuclear emergency.

Of course, no remedy made by any authority for past wrongs can ever hope to match open honest government in the first instance.

*1 Photons, Particles and Radiology.
SOURCE: “MARALINGA CLEANUP”, SUB SECTION What is the risk from plutonium contamination?

Quote: “Of the long-lived radionuclide contaminants at the Maralinga site, plutonium-239 presents the most significant radiological hazard. Other isotopes of plutonium contribute ~15% additional dose. The most important pathway for exposure is by inhalation. The aim of the recent rehabilitation of the Maralinga range was to reduce the risk arising from radiation exposure of individual Aborigines, living an outstation lifestyle, to a level that was acceptable to the Aboriginal community and the Australian Government.

Plutonium, being an alpha emitter, presents a health risk only if it enters the body. Of the three pathways for entry into the body (inhalation, ingestion, or through cuts and wounds), inhalation of plutonium and subsequent retention in the lungs gives rise to a risk of lung cancer. However, if the plutonium enters the body through one of the other pathways the greater risk is of bone cancer (osteosarcoma) or cancer of the liver. The degree to which each of these exposure pathways contributes to potential dose depends on the type of lifestyle practised by occupants of the land.

The plutonium at Maralinga is largely in the form of insoluble plutonium oxides. Due to this insolubility, the ingestion pathway is of much less importance to potential dose. Wound contamination is less likely to occur but does have the potential to deliver large single doses. For nomadic Aborigines such as the Maralinga Tjarutja, living an outstation lifestyle, the inhalation dose pathway is by far the most significant for both adults and children.” end quote.


It should be noted that the visit to Maralinga by Premier Bannon in the company of ARPANSA scientists was in preparation for the hand back of the land to its owners. The owners of the land had been dispossessed for a period of about 3 decades by that time.

The final hand back of the last land parcel occurred in December 2009.

“Archie Barton, political activist and land-rights compaigner: born Barton, South Australia March 1936; administrator, Maralinga Tjarutja community 1985-2005; OM 1989; Member, National Indigenous Council 2004-05; died Ceduna, South Australia 18 October 2008.” obituaries/archie-barton-aboriginal-leader-who-campaigned-for-the-cleanup-of-the-maralinga-nuclear-test-sites-997958.html

There are some who maintain that the Maralinga lands should not have been evacuated in the first place. There are some who say it would have been perfectly safe for the owners of the Maralinga lands to have returned in 1967. In 1984. And so on.

But the fact is the owners wanted clean land back, not dangerous dirty land. Land that had been lied about for decades.

Irati Wanti.

Did Archie suffer “Melt Down in Reason” ? I say no. He understood, and so do the whole First Nation, what the land means.

I don’t. It’s not my land.

How much plutonium, in fractions of a gram, is required to invoke an exclusively beneficial adaptive response when introduced into the bone of a living individual? For Hormesis?

Why is it that only external photons are used in experiments which attempt to show that either concept is valid? If shown to be valid in the medical setting, does that mean that nuclear pollution which burdened Maralinga land was actually beneficial?

I will attempt to answer these questions. I am aware of Bobby Scott’s work and of his claims. Various pamphlets claim various things re alpha and Adaptive response. My blocked blog goes into quite some detail. I look closely at what he calls “The P.A.M.” process.

internal emitters are not like CT scans. The specifications are different.


Oops, wrong hat Rocky. This is an example. It’s not the relevant file. Which, if it were actually ever created, is probably “lost” rather than weeded. imo.

On the importance of studying internal emitters, the late Dr Patricia Wallace Durbin (AEC, DOE) had this to say in the course of her oral history taken as part of the ACHRE investigations:

FISHER: We’re changing the topic just a little now. Considering this work and the work [during] your career, [and remembering] the conference [on internal dosimetry research needs] that was held in Atlanta, organized by CIRRPC, what do you think the future research directions of the Department of Energy and radionuclide metabolism and biological effects should be?
DURBIN: I’m not convinced that the present research agenda at OHER30 considers radionuclide metabolism and biological effects as an agenda item at all. I’m not even sure it’s on their list; it’s fallen off the bottom of the list, if it were on the list.
CAPUTO: Should it be on the list?
DURBIN: I think so. I think that it’s part of an ongoing obligation, as part of an ongoing compact with the public. This is an area where the U.S. was once the unchallenged leader and is now the tail wagging the dog. There is a place for a focused effort……Data that [were] considered to be of value, or generated under the auspices of the old agencies-things that were considered, at the time that the experiments were begun, to be valuable-have not automatically become devalued, [just] because somebody’s priority list has changed. They’re still valuable. And, the taxpayers are still owed a report.



Oral History of
Dr. Patricia Wallace Durbin, Ph.D.


It is quite useless to focus on external photon biological effects and then to presume that
the results hold true for internal emitters which are not photon emitters but particle emitters.

In order to validate the presumption, the experiment has to be repeated with internalised radio-chemicals.

In fact, the experiment cannot be repeated because the internalised radio-chemical emissions cannot be
switched off and so the accumulated dose cannot be controlled.

So when one talks about ionising radiation, one has to define the terms.

The position in regard to fission products as internal emitters is that there are variables in the real world which cannot be controlled by the experimenter.

As much as they might pretend that they can. This has been a constant theme since the dawn of the nuclear age.

An emission of radio-chemicals from any nuclear device or instillation is an emission full stop.

Nuclear facilities are not emissions free. One may call such pollutants “like vitamins” if one likes.

But they are not. The experiment that leads to the claim excluded the radio-chemicals nuclear facilities emit. The experiment focused only on external photon energies.

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