LETTER: Pacific nuclear tests: French public opinion, British history, Labour policy

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The Independent Online
From Ms Sue Rabbitt Roff

Sir: Your leading article "No fuss please, we're British" (8 September) wonders why our government is not joining in the criticisms of France's test "in someone else's backyard". Perhaps it is because the British tests of 40 years ago were carried out in someone else's backyard.

Australian scientists are now trying to model the breathing patterns of Aboriginal children, so that they can estimate their uptake of inhaled radionuclides if they were to return to a semi-traditional lifestyle at Maralinga. British scientists, working under the auspices of the National Radiological Protection Board, have dismissed the marked incidence of leukemia in British veterans who participated in the tests as a "chance finding". If the British government were to agree that France is culpable for its tests, it would be tantamount to acknowledging its own culpability in Australia at a time when many veterans are seeking compensation for their radiogenic illnesses.

Yours sincerely,

Sue Rabbitt Roff

Centre for Medical Education

University of Dundee


8 September