The BNTVA was set up in 1983 to gain recognition and restitution for the British nuclear test veterans who took part in the British and American nuclear tests at the Montebello Islands, Christmas Island, Malden Island and Maralinga & Emu Field, South Australia. They believe that over 22,000 British servicemen participated in the British and American nuclear tests and clean-ups between 1952-1965, along with scientists from the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment and civilians. The majority of men have passed away, and around a tenth of the men from the Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, Merchant Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary remain. In 2017, the BNTVA became a registered Charity with the aim of providing welfare to nuclear test veterans, their wives, widows and descendants of British nuclear tests, and Operation Dominic. They promote research into the effects of clastogenic radiation on the nuclear community, and educate the general public about the nuclear tests in creative ways.