Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : New medal design unveiled to honour veterans of Britain’s nuclear tests [July 2023]

The press release issued by the Cabinet Office on 27 July 2023.

The design of the Nuclear Test Medal has been unveiled. The medal recognises military, civilian, and overseas staff and personnel who participated in Britain’s nuclear testing programme in the 1950s and 1960s.

  • Design for the commemorative Nuclear Test Medal unveiled.
  • Production will begin shortly so veterans can receive them before Remembrance Sunday.
  • Medal recognises significant contribution of those who participated in the UK’s nuclear testing programme.

Many veterans of Britain’s nuclear tests will receive a new medal in time for Remembrance Sunday, the government has announced today.

It comes as the design for the Nuclear Test Medal is unveiled for the first time today.

The medal was announced by the Prime Minister in November 70 years after the first British test of a nuclear weapon, and recognises military, civilian, and overseas staff and personnel who participated in Britain’s nuclear testing programme in the 1950s and 1960s.

Since the announcement, the Government has worked hard to ensure that a fitting medal was designed, minted and issued to as many veterans as possible in time for this year’s Remembrance events.

The medal will now go into production by Worcestershire Medal Services, with the first veterans set to receive their medal ahead of Remembrance Sunday this year.

Defence Secretary, Rt Hon. Ben Wallace MP, said:

I am delighted that this commemorative medal is rightfully given to our Nuclear Test veterans, who have made an invaluable contribution to the safety and security of the UK, and who we recognise and value for their service to our nation.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Rt Hon. Johnny Mercer MP, said:

As thousands flock to the cinemas to watch Oppenheimer, it’s important to remember the contributions of the veterans, scientists and staff who worked on Britain’s nuclear programme.

Our nuclear deterrent continues to underpin both our security and the security of our NATO allies and this new medal is a fitting tribute to all those who worked to develop this vital defence.

The medal will recognise the contribution made by veterans and civilian staff from across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Kiribati and includes scientists and local employees.

The design features an atom surrounded by olive branches and bears the words “Nuclear Test Medal”. The obverse will bear an effigy of His Majesty the King. The simplicity of the design was chosen to reflect the multitude of different roles that were carried out by the broad range of recipients.

The ribbon design includes white, yellow, black and red, with the lighter blue for the sky and ocean, representative of the Pacific.

The medal will also be awarded posthumously. Veterans, civilian staff and next of kin from across the UK and Commonwealth can apply for the commemorative medal through the MOD’s Medal Office, which will be free of charge.