§ Mr. Alton
asked the Secretary of State for Defence, in view of the evidence available that children of participants in the Pacific atomic bomb tests have suffered an abnormally high incidence of birth defects, whether he will consider launching a survey, similar to that of the National Radiological Protection Board, into cancer incidence among such children.
§ Mr. Butler
Her Majesty's Government remain confident that the British atmospheric nuclear weapon test programmes in the Pacific were conducted safely. Whilst I have the greatest sympathy for the parents of children with abnormalities, I do not accept that the new claims of effects on children born to test participants alter the Government's position. The study which the Ministry of Defence has commissioned from the National Radiological Protection Board will compare the mortality rate for participants with that of a similar group of Service men and civilians who were not involved in the tests. I 1117W believe that this will be a more sensitive test of whether participants have been disadvantaged than a study into birth defects in their children.
§ Mr. Butler
The study which the National Radiological Protection Board has undertaken is progressing to plan as detailed by my predecessor, my hon. Friend the Member for Chertsey and Walton (Mr. Pattie), in October 1983, and I have no reason to doubt that it will be completed within the period which he predicted of two to three years. No interim findings are available.