Melbourne/London, Aug.4 : Britain's defence chiefs have admitted that their servicemen were exposed to dangerous radiation levels during nuclear tests in Australia and the South Pacific in the 1950s.
The admission, made after years of denials, features in papers filed with the High Court in London by Ministry of Defence lawyers.
The Sunday Mirror newspaper said the court papers revealed that the ministry now believed that nuclear tests were responsible for the deaths of some British servicemen.
The ministry insisted that only 159 men were affected out of the 20,000 who were present.
According to The Australian, about 800 former servicemen from Britain, New Zealand and Fiji earlier this year launched a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the ministry, claiming they had been exposed to dangerous levels of radiation during tests at sites including Maralinga in South Australia and Christmas Island.
Film badges worn by the men recorded the amount of radiation they were exposed to.