The Lucky Dragon No. 5, Lapp, Japanese science, H bomb fallout, and the need for full disclosure.

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The following pages are taken from Ralph Lapp’s book “The Voyage of the Lucky Dragon”,


It is my underatanding that :

At the present time veterans of the British government’s development and testing of thermo-nuclear weapons (H-bombs) conducted at various times and places including Christmas Island, are engaged in legal proceedings against the British Crown. The veterans seek justice for harms suffered due to the military service which enabled the British government to perfect thermo-nuclear weapons.

As a result of this undertaking, British H bomb Veterans seek justice for ill health they and their families, including, in cases, their children.

British A bomb and H bomb veterans, I understand, have repeatedly asked the British government to release such documentation and information which is needed for the veterans to reasonsably establish that the illnesses and harms suffered are related to the exposure to
1. direct gamma and neutron emissions from nuclear and thermo nuclear weapon bursts.
2. exposure to fission fallout, fuel fallout, neutron activated bomb casing and other irradiated metal and other activated substances.

To this end, it is my understanding that the veterans have sought information related to, in this case, the fallout product inventory from British H bombs. (In other cases this information is sought in relation to fission bombs.)

So far the British government has refused to allow disclosure of the this fallout inventory for to do so, the British government claims, such disclosure would cause a “complication” even today, in the year 2014, between the British government and the goverments of “other nations”. (Whyte, 21014)

On the basis that Japanese scientists identified 26 radioactive substances present in a US thermo nuclear weapon in and after the 1954 Castle Bravo thermo-nuclear device was detonated, and as various qualified US nuclear weapons specialists, including Dr. Ralph Lapp (AEC) have confirmed the Japanese findings (see photographed pages authored by Lapp and published on the open book market in 1957, substantial portions of the relevant information is available in the public domain and has been for the period of 57 years.

Further, given that the US government itself “gave up” the legal contest to stop publication of other relevant information being openly published in the USA and world literay and scientific information markets in the period 1979 – 1980 (1979 case United States v. Progressive, Inc. cited in CARDOZO LAW
REVIEW, VOL 26, NO 4, MARCH 2005, PP. 1401-8); and seeing that subsequently no US researcher not in the employ of nuclear authorities has been prevented from publishing information regarding the nature, design, characteristics and effects, including fallout composition and amounts from documents declassified by the US government, but still apparently classified by the British Government, and in the possession of the British government due to its own thermo nuclear experimental detonations which involved H bomb veterans in the service of the British Crown from Britain, New Zealand and other nations, I submit that :

The obligations which result from agreements entered into between Britian and the USA, including the US-UK Mutual Defense Agreement of 1958, but not excluding other relevant agreements, and which invoke an obligation of profound secrecy, apparently to the extent of obligating Britain to deny justice to its nuclear veterans, for fear of profound complication in the Anglo-American relationship is:

Out of date, redundant and plainly unethical given that:

An reasonably versed 12 year old can find both Japanese and US sourced relevant material in the public domain in the course of a single Sunday afternoon.

I therefore submit that the British Government reconsider its denial of justice to veterans, for such denial is complicating its relationship with veterans from Britain and other nations.

I am sure the USA will not mind the approval of just outcome in the case of nuclear veterans being made by the British Courts in the Service of the Crown. After all, the USA substantially acknowledged the need for just settlement in regard to its nuclear veterans in the same or similar matters as the British cases some decades ago. (Not withstanding the serious lackings of the US consideration, and in the manner of the consideration, which admitted no liability and which required that US veterans need not show cause. This consideration overcame the need to disclose in courts information regarded as secret.)

It has been some centuries since the Magna Carta was signed. Is there really no way for Britain to sensibly supply just remedy in these matters?

In conclusion, the text above written and published by Lapp in 1957 and sold around the globe at that time describes the precise methodology used in an American H bomb. Precise details of the weight and composition of fallout per square mile of Pacific Ocean are given.

Copius other freely available documents give further relevant information. The provisons of US-UK agreements signed at the same time (circa 1958) which include obligations imposed up the UK by the USA to maintain secrecy in these matters obviously do not apply to Lapp, Japanese scientists, independent US researchers and the US legal system (Cadozzo).

If the UK persists as holding secret information which may be read openly in all places on the globe except within a British courtroom, what does that say about the relevance and moral maturity of the British legal system?

Apart from anything else, it reduces that legal system in these matters a global laughing stock, in my opinion. The precedent of openness has been set for decades. If British veterans do not have access to British fallout documents, deem US and Japanese documents in the public domain to be British. The claim that the British documents are secret is redundant.

It is thoroughly unjust to expect nuclear veterans in Britain and anywhere to else to re-invent the technical data of the H bomb when the claimed secrecy does not in fact exist in relation to vast swathes of the information. If you cant access the locked archive boxes held at Aldermaston and Whitehall, so what? Consult the open record and present the information in court. The US and its citizens are not bound by the relevant US-UK agreements of the 1950s. One wonders why Britain in this matter is acting as an informational colony of Washington.

To cover up its dirty deeds, no doubt. But that’s just my opinion, gained from the historical record down here.

If I were a British veteran of Christmas Island, and thank the Lord I’m not, I would read the above to the court on the last day of proceedings.

Royal Commissioner: “Did you tell the Safety Committee all that you knew?”

Titterton: “Of course not. I was subject to the secrecy demands of the United States and Great Britain.”

The Royal Commissioner found that safety at the British nuclear tests was compromised by the divided loyalties of a safety Chair who suffered from divided loyalties.

It is still the case today in the matter of Nuclear Veterans vs the Crown.

Paul Langley
Associate, Australian Atomic ExServicemen’s Association.