A New Zealand study that showed the harm of nuclear testing on veterans at Christmas Island is being adopted by the British Ministry of Defence.

The ministry plans two health studies on veterans of Britain's nuclear tests in Australia during the 1950s.

One will follow Massey University research that showed veterans' exposure to radiation had caused cellular abnormalities.

The study, led by Associate Professor Al Rowland, tested 50 seamen involved in the "Operation Grapple" tests on Christmas and Maiden Islands, and compared tests to 50 control subjects.