Letter: Open UK's nuclear test files

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DAVID USBORNE'S shocking report ('US opens its ghoulish Cold War closet', 16 January) on United States radiation experiments underlines the continuing need for anti- nuclear vigilance.

Hazel O'Leary, the US Energy Secretary, is to be congratulated for opening her department's files, thus revealing some of the horrifying skeletons in her country's nuclear cupboard. The US is not alone in putting nuclear technology before human beings and the environment. Nuclear weapons tests conducted by the Soviet Union, China, France and the UK on the lands of indigenous peoples in the Pacific, Australia, Kazakhstan, Novaya Zemlya, eastern China, Algeria and Nevada have destroyed the health and lives of thousands.

Considering the long history of nuclear co-operation between the US and UK governments, our government should open its files on nuclear testing so that we can learn about Britain's role, if any, in experiments on human beings.

The US revelations are a direct challenge to John Major's commitment to open government. They emphasise how vital it is to achieve an early and successful conclusion to the negotiations in Geneva on a comprehensive test-ban treaty.

Janet Bloomfield

Chair CND

London N7