§ Mr. Alton
asked the Prime Minister what progress has been made in the setting up of a survey of British service men who attended nuclear tests in Australia and the south Pacific between 1952 and 1958; whether the survey has been entrusted to any particular organisation; by whom it is financed; if it will cover the 12,000 British service men and the 1,500 civilians present at the tests referred to in the answer of Thursday 8 February, Official Report, c. 291–2; and how many people who did not witness the tests but who performed support roles outside the test area will be included in the survey.
§ The Prime Minister
Since the survey was announced early this year the Ministry of Defence has made good progress in defining the populations which need to be covered and in identifying the relevant individuals within these populations. Present indications are that the total number of service men and civilians to be included in the survey will be higher than previously estimated and could be around 20,000. These will include support personnel who worked in areas away from the test areas and others who were, at the time, not considered to be at any risk from radiation exposure.
A contract, to be funded by the Ministry of Defence, will be placed shortly for the detailed conduct of the survey by an independent organisation.