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Australian atomic veterans join British class action

Maralinga vets join British class action  Pia Akerman  ,  The Australian * December 16, 2009 AUSTRALIANS exposed to deadly radiation in the Maralinga nuclear tests of the 1950s and 60s have abandoned plans to sue at home and will instead join a British class action seeking compensation for damage to their health. Lawyer Tom Goudkamp said about 120 Australians, more than half of them widows, would file their own class action in Britain.

Mr Goudkamp hopes to lodge claims on behalf of up to 250, a number that does not include offspring with genetic problems related to the atomic tests.

“If we came to some sort of arrangement with the Australian government, then there wouldn’t be any need to litigate, but the Australian government doesn’t seem to be interested,” Mr Goudkamp said yesterday.

Australian Nuclear Veterans Association president Ric Johnstone, who worked as an RAAF mechanic at Maralinga, said a settlement was preferable to a court case.

“That could go on for generations, so if the government says, `We’ll look after the offspring as years go by’, then it would be quicker and easier to accept that,” he said. “Blokes like me that are still here aren’t particularly worried about ourselves.”……………A 2007 New Zealand study found that Kiwi sailors exposed to the nuclear testing had three times the level of genetic abnormality and higher rates of cancer than the general population………….

The handing back of the Maralinga lands to the Maralinga Tjarutja people is this Friday.

Maralinga vets join British class action | The Australian

December 16, 2009 - Posted by | Legal | , , , , , , , ,

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