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22.4.2 ADF British Nuclear Test Participants


During the 1950s, the British Government conducted a number of nuclear tests in Australia which involved Australian Defence Force personnel. The tests were conducted at Emu Field and Maralinga in South Australia and at the Monte Bello Islands off the West Australian coast from 1952 to 1957. A non-liability health care scheme has been established for those persons working, or who were a visitor, in at least one of the test areas while tests were conducted or were present within a 2 year period after the test. Those who participated in minor nuclear test trials conducted between 1953 and 1963 are also eligible.


The DVA website contains the details of who is eligible, thus providing a definition of who falls into this specific type of service:

Definition of British Nuclear Test Participants


Those who have been exposed to the action of ionising radiation as a result of the British Nuclear Tests may have their claim assessed under s 7(1) of the Act. See section 22.1 of this manual for information on how to assess claims under s 7(1).


Where a delegate proposes to use s 7(1) for a BNT claim, a minute with details must be prepared and forwarded to the Director, Liability & Service Eligibility Policy in the Rehabilitation, Compensation & Income Support Policy Group for approval. The policy area contains details on the BNT testing sites and decontamination areas and administers the non-liability health care scheme. Note that if the claimant was not exposed to ionizing radiation (contrast for example radiation heat), their claim must be determined by the usual methods and not under s 7(1).


Delegates should also make sure that the BNT check flag on Defcare has been ticked, whether the claim is being processed under s 7(1) or through normal means.

Further information on the detonation, ADF personnel involved and decontamination locations and process can be found at the following link on the DVA external website:

Dosimetry and Cancer & Mortality Reports  on BNT