An expert panel is looking at research into health effects for veterans who were present at nuclear tests and how it may impact on war pension decisions.

Veterans Affairs Minister Judith Collins asked the new Expert Panel on Veterans' Health to look at the research into how New Zealand veterans who were present at nuclear tests in the Pacific were affected.

A spokesman said it was unrelated to, but a timely step, given a High Court decision in London last week clearing the way for military veterans from several countries including New Zealand to sue the British Ministry of Defence for radiation exposure during nuclear tests in the 1950s.

New Zealand sailors said they were also exposed to radiation when the government sent the frigates Otago and Canterbury to Mururoa to draw world attention to French atmospheric nuclear testing in the 1970s.