Christmas Island nuclear bomb test veteran Archie Ross, of Castle Gresley, warns Japanese tsunami victims of the dangers of fallout
VETERANS of Britain's nuclear bomb tests 50 years ago have met survivors who fled radioactive fallout after the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami.
Hundreds of square miles of the Japanese port province of Fukushima were contaminated when reactors at a nuclear power plant exploded nearly two years ago.
Thousands were evacuated and huge areas are still uninhabitable.
Those who fled have been fighting for compensation and they discussed this with the veterans, who have had similar experiences.
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Ex-RAF man Archie Ross, of Castle Gresley, who witnessed six nuclear bomb tests on Christmas Island between 1957 and 1958, said thousands of servicemen who were contaminated were told that the radiation had not affected them and could not be given compensation.
The 79-year-old has been an advocate for the rights of nuclear test veterans.
His daughter, Julie, was born with deformities and he warned the same thing could happen to those exposed to radiation in Japan.
Mr Ross said: "The Government said that none of us were affected, but today we have proof that we were.
"I think without any doubt the people in Japan exposed to radiation will have the same problems nuclear test veterans have.
"In those days we didn't know anything about the effects of radiation.
"You can't see it, you can't smell it, you don't know if it's killing you."
He said the victims of Fukushima were experiencing the same problems as the test veterans who had received no compensation.
He said: "There was a 20-mile exclusion zone around Fukushima but it kept changing. The Japanese government said they would pay out but didn't."
Among those who fled Fukushima was English teacher Geoff Read, his wife, Mitsuko, and their eight-year-old son, Oscar. They are on a lecture tour warning of the dangers of nuclear plants.
Mr Read said: "Huge areas of northern Japan will be contaminated for thousands of years, yet the authorities are telling people it is safe to move back into the area. "
Another Christmas Island veteran, Ken McGinley, of Johnstone, Renfrewshire, said: "The servicemen have suffered and so have their children and grandchildren. The same fate awaits the people of Fukushima".
The groups were brought together in Manchester by Nuclear Free Local Authorities.