Local MP Welcomes Progress on Nuclear Test Veterans

Local MP Welcomes Progress on Nuclear Test Veterans

Published date : 04 April, 2023

Gordon MP Richard Thomson has welcomed the publication of the eligibility criteria for medals to veterans of the UK’s nuclear testing programme in recognition of their service.  

The decision to finally award medals to the veterans comes after many years of lobbying and campaigning by veterans, their families and veterans organisations.  

Around 22,000 servicemen took part in the UK's 1952-1967 atomic testing and radiation clean-ups in the Pacific and Australia, amid extremely dangerous circumstances, to secure the UK's hydrogen bomb.  The service personnel endured blast yields detonated by Britain and the US of up to 7.7 megatons – far bigger than the explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  

The UK Government had consistently refused requests that the veterans be recognised with a medal for their service in such dangerous and difficult conditions.  SNP MP Mr Thomson has previously given his support to calls for this decision to be reversed, most recently writing to the Cabinet Office to urge a rethink on the decision.    

The full eligibility criteria has been published on the website together with information on how veterans, civilians and their next of kin can apply.  

Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said:  

“This is a further, welcome, step forward in allowing those veterans who served the recognition they deserve.  The treatment these personnel received at the time – and subsequently with the refusal to recognise their service – has been appalling.  It’s entirely appropriate that this historic wrong has now, at long last, been righted.  

“There are currently only around 3-4000 surviving nuclear test veterans.  With an average age of 85 years, it’s long-overdue the sacrifices made by this group of people – often without the consequences of what they were being asked to do being fully explained to them – were recognised by the UK Government.”  



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