Page last updated at 17:38 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 18:38 UK

Veterans closer to tests payments

Christmas Island
Tests took place in the South Pacific in the 1950s and 1960s

Former Manx servicemen who took part in British nuclear weapons tests more than 50 years ago are edging closer to receiving their compensation.

Up to 12 former soldiers on the Isle of Man took part in the tests on Christmas Island in the Pacific during the 1950s.

Later this month, members of Tynwald will be asked to approve total spending of 96,000 to fund the payments.

About 700 veterans - including 300 from New Zealand and Fiji - are suing the UK government for compensation.

Many hydrogen bombs were tested in the South Pacific in the 1950s and 1960s.

'Token of gratitude'

Veterans claim they were not given suitable protective clothing during the detonation of nuclear devices and suffered exposure to radiation.

And those exposed claim there is a higher incidence of cancer, deformities and skin problems among the group and their families as a result.

The Manx government is the first official body to recognise the damage caused to the soldiers.

Chief Minister Tony Brown said: "We believe there is merit in providing this payment in recognition of what our veterans, who were involved in these nuclear tests when they were in the British Armed Forces, have gone through.

"It is just a small token of gratitude really in recognition of that."

Manx nuclear veterans compensated
19 Feb 08 |  Isle of Man
Veterans hoping for compensation
02 Mar 05 |  Cornwall
Servicemen exposed to radiation
12 May 01 |  UK News

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