Nuclear Abolition News and Analysis

Reporting the underreported threat of nuclear weapens and efforts by those striving for a nuclear free world.
A project of The Non-Profit International Press Syndicate Group with IDN as flagship agency in partnership with Soka Gakkai International in consultative
status with ECOSOC.


Watch out for our new project website

About us

TOWARD A NUCLEAR FREE WORLD was first launched in 2009 with a view to raising and strengthening public awareness of the urgent need for non-proliferation and ushering in a world free of nuclear weapons. Read more

IDN Global News

The Story of a Nuclear Test Veteran


Photo: Nuclear weapons testing conducted in Nevada. Credit: Peter W. Merlin

GENEVA (IDN-INPS) – In an interview with ICAN, U.S. nuclear test veteran George Coleman speaks up about the nuclear trials carried out by the U.S. military and his life and health after the nuclear weapons testing conducted in Nevada.

“We were given zero choice”, said George Coleman, a victim of one of the many nuclear weapon trials conducted at the Nevada Test Site. [2019-05-30

Coleman served as a Civil Engineering Corps Officer in the U.S. Navy for five years and an additional fifteen years in the Reserves. In 1952, on August 7-8, Coleman and his fellow soldiers were briefed on the risks associated with radiation exposure, but had to participate in the procedures nonetheless.

 As for their mandate to test nuclear weapons, the U.S. military gave the callous reason that testing was needed as with any other device.

As Coleman recollected the gruesome memories of the explosion, he remembered lying in a trench with his hands in front of his face to shield himself against the blinding light. That’s when he saw the bones of his hands through his closed eyelids, as if he were in a X-Ray machine. Exposure to an accumulated dosage of 160 milliroentgens, left Coleman suffering from full body radiation that caused immediate loss of hair and thyroid function. Later in life, he was also diagnosed with prostate cancer among other health problems, that were likely effects of the radiation exposure.

The residual radioactive material from the blast in Nevada spread to St.George, Utah, where cancer rates became subsequently prevalent. Although, the US Department of Defense provided a personalized health report soon after the test, Coleman and the soldiers present have not received any form of compensation or apology to date.

Though the nuclear tests had a profound impact on Coleman’s health and life, it did not stop him from obtaining a Degree in Construction Law and a Masters in Engineering. Coleman also became an outspoken advocate for nuclear disarmament. Currently in his early 90s, as a member of the National Association of Atomic Veterans, he urges governments involved in nuclear weapons testing to stop immediately. He was very pleased when ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 and congratulated the organization for taking up the cause to abolish nuclear weapons.

The stories of veterans like Coleman have also recently been brought to light in the short documentary The Atomic Soldiers, featured on The Atlantic “Until this day, a lot of what has happened- and the radiation-related diseases the veterans have contracted and passed on to the generations after them-is still being covered up.

The veterans are consistently denied compensation,” said Morgan Knibbe, director of the documentary Knibbe’s documentary tells the experience and sufferings of these atomic veterans for the very first time, as there is a lack of recorded testimonies available on the nuclear tests and the illnesses the veterans suffered from radioactive pollution.

Watch The Atomic Soldiers [IDN-InDepthNews – 30 May 2019]

Photo: Nuclear weapons testing conducted in Nevada. Credit: Peter W. Merlin

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate. –



Report & Newsletter

Toward a World Without Nuclear Weapons 2022

Scroll to Top