from Sunday Herald, 27 May 2001
Tonnes of depleted uranium (DU), the toxic radioactive metal blamed for causing cancers in the Gulf and Balkan wars, were blasted into the environment by Britain's nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific and Australia in the 1950s, the Sunday Herald can reveal.
The disclosure has shocked veterans of the nuclear tests, who now suspect that DU may be implicated in the illnesses that many of them have suffered in the years since. And scientists are calling for the government to reopen its inquiry into the health of the 21,000 British servicemen who took part in the tests on Christmas Island and at Maralinga in the Australian desert.
“It beggars belief,” said Sheila Gray, the secretary of the British Nuclear Tests Veterans Association. “They gave us the impression that DU had never been used before the Gulf war and now it turns out it was used in the 1950s. It's yet another hazard our men had to face.”