first published on April 25, 2019 by Will
“We were told nothing. We knew nothing. We were told very little … except, don’t look at the flash.”
A Motherboard reporter gets interviews with British atomic veterans who were present for nuclear detonation tests in Australia and the Pacific. Watching the massive blasts first-hand was an incredible experience. However, it wasn’t an experience they volunteered for, nor did they know the dangers involved with being so close to ground zero. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were used in various manners to test the devices and to train to fight with them in wartime situations.
They were lab rats for the nuclear testing program, and many of the vets began to get sick and die as a result as their exposure. The governments involved with the testing tried covering up the links between the program and the service members’ cancers. The health issues didn’t stop at the exposed service members. It effected their DNA and was passed on to their children who were born with very serious illnesses as well.
The current threat of nuclear war appears to be at its highest point in decades. The US and Russia have scrapped international nuclear arms treaties. North Korea developed an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the US mainland. Longstanding alliances have outlived their relevance, and world superpowers are competing for the same resources. It is important that we heed the words of the atomic veterans that have experienced the impacts of the nuclear arms race so we don’t repeat them.