According to the American Cancer Society, a number of countries were conducting nuclear weapons tests between 1945 and 1962. The organisation uses the United States as an example, claiming that following experiments in Nevada and the South Pacific, approximately 200,000 military personnel – as well as those living in the vicinity – were exposed to varying levels of radiation.
During that period, governments may not have fully understood the effects of nuclear exposure. However, numerous studies have since been conducted which might shed light on what could have happened to these people.
If exposed to a significant amount of radiation, an individual may experience a number of adverse effects, including organ damage, radiation sickness, or could have an increased chance of developing certain cancers, such as leukaemia or thyroid cancer.
Potentially, those adversely affected by nuclear weapons tests following the Second World War could have had their lives dramatically affected by radiation exposure. Therefore, many individuals might believe that the military has since implemented appropriate steps to reasonably prevent employees and members of the general public from suffering similar levels of contamination.
Sadly, the results of a report, conducted by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), suggest that the military is failing to implement adequate safety measures in order to minimise exposure to nuclear materials.
According to the research, published in 2011, the MoD believes that spending cuts to the armed forces are causing "progressively worse" risks inside nuclear facilities – suggesting that those working in these installations could be in danger of suffering the effects of accidents such as radiation leaks. Furthermore, the report appeared to show that a number of incidents had already occurred in nuclear bases – and it described this figure as being "too high".
However, this is not the first time that nuclear safety within the armed forces has been questioned.
In 2010, another MoD report highlighted a number of problems concerning nuclear weapons safety at a naval base. Allegedly, staff members have been confused by safety regulations or might have even decided not to comply with these rules. Potentially, if such negligence results in an accident, the consequences could harm the personnel within the base and also affect the local area.
In addition, the report highlighted additional problems concerning nuclear safety at other installations, such as personnel transporting weapons while suffering the effects of fatigue, the possibility that submarine commanders did not fully commit to regulations, and "poor practice" at another nuclear weapons base.
Consequently, these studies suggest that the armed forces are failing to reasonably prevent staff members from coming into contact with radioactive materials – potentially having devastating consequences.
Claiming compensation with Seth Lovis & Co
If you were adversely affected after being exposed to radiation while working in the military, you may be entitled to make an armed forces compensation claim through Seth Lovis & Co.
Our military accident solicitors have helped numerous personnel receive damages after being harmed through the negligent actions of an employer or superior officer. To find out if we could help you receive compensation, please contact us today on 0808 252 0678 or fill in an online claim form.