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|Thursday, June 07, 2001, updated at 10:50(GMT+8)|
US Use of Dead Babies for Nuclear Experiments Is Well-Documented: OfficialThe United States has acknowledged for years that it used corpses of babies in nuclear experiments conducted for two decades from the 1950s, a US Energy Department official said.
Britain's The Observer newspaper said Sunday that between 1955 and 1970 around 6,000 babies from hospitals in Hong Kong, Australia, Britain, Canada and South America were shipped to the United States for use in nuclear experiments.
The department official, who asked not to be named, challenged The Observer's claim that its report contained revelations from new documents concerning the project.
"We know of no such documents," the official said, adding that all documents had been released in 1995 and the operation condenamed Project Sunshine had been widely reported in the US media at the time.
In June 1994, then energy secretary Hazel O'Leary collected some 11,000 documents detailing experiments on stillborn and other dead babies by nuclear researchers working for the US military.
The documents were collected at the request of former president Bill Clinton who ordered an investigation into Project Sunshine which was carried out by a group of nuclear experts dubbed the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments.
The group's report, along with the documents, were released to the public the following year.
"The only Project Sunshine records that this office is aware of were released as part of the 1995 report on human radiation experiments," said the energy department's office of declassification in a statement.
According to those records, Project Sunshine began in 1955, when Dr Willard Libby, of the University of Chicago, appealed for large numbers of bodies, preferably stillborn babies, for experiments on the effect of fallout from atom bomb tests. The tiny corpses were needed for tests, conducted by the US Department of Energy, into radioactivity levels of the isotope Strontium 90.
The declassified documents show that bodies were sent from hospitals in many parts of the world, including Hong Kong, Australia, Britain, Canada, South America, and the Philippines.
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