British Scientists Claim To Inhale Plutonium ‘Without Risk’

August 8, 1999

LONDON (Reuters) – Two British scientists who inhaled plutonium in an experiment to mimic the effects of a nuclear war have suffered no side effects, officials said on Monday.

Britain’s Atomic Energy Authority said the research into the effects of plutonium, until now considered a grave danger to mankind, would help people working in the nuclear industry.

“Tests using injections and inhalation have been going on for many years. They are carried out under very strict guidelines from the government,” said Atomic Energy Authority spokesman Andrew Mann,

“There are no real risks involved in these tests,” he told Reuters. “Everyone that took part in this test is healthy.” One of the scientists involved, Eric Voice, 73, who inhaled plutonium 18 months ago, said fears that plutonium was a danger to people were unfounded.

Voice, a nuclear scientist, said he and an unnamed colleague in his 60s had been well since absorbing a minuscule quantity of plutonium.

Voice told the Guardian newspaper that ignorance of how plutonium affected the human metabolism was a gap that medical science needed to fill.

“There will in the future be a nuclear war or an accident and we should know how it is going to affect us,” he said.

“Because of the work already done we now know a great deal about what plutonium does to the bloodstream, and where it goes. The vital link we’re now making is how it gets into the blood in the first place,” Voice said.

Voice believes that plutonium has never harmed a human being, except when the United States dropped its atomic bombs on Japan to end World War Two.

Voice was one of 12 volunteers who were given plutonium between 1992 and 1998. Results of the study will be published next year.