Sick­ness at the heart of nu­clear policy

Scottish Daily Mail - - It’s Friday! -

WHILE peo­ple ‘Stand Up To Cancer’, the Depart­ment of Health has re­leased its Review of Child­hood Cancer In­ci­dence near Sel­lafield and Doun­reay. In the Eight­ies, the families of 19 chil­dren liv­ing within 20 miles of Sel­lafield took the site op­er­a­tors to court. The chil­dren all had leukaemia. They lost their case, the judge rul­ing that the ra­di­a­tion dose to the pub­lic from the plant was too low to have caused leukaemia. The Govern­ment sub­scribes to the 1988 Leo Kinlen the­ory, which sug­gests that ex­po­sure to a com­mon uniden­ti­fied in­fec­tion through pop­u­la­tion mix­ing re­sults in child­hood leukaemia. Prof Kinlen said: ‘This ex­po­sure is greater when peo­ple from ur­ban ar­eas mix with ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties e.g. when con­struc­tion work­ers and nu­clear staff move into the Sel­lafield area.’ His­tory is about to re­peat it­self. The Govern­ment plans to para­chute into Cum­bria 4,000 tem­po­rary work­ers to work at Beck­er­met (pop­u­la­tion 1,600), site of the pro­posed ‘big­gest new nu­clear de­vel­op­ment in Europe.’ Dr Paul Dorf­man, sec­re­tary to the UK gov­ern­men­tal sci­en­tific ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee Ex­am­in­ing Ra­di­a­tion Risks from In­ter­nal Emit­ters (CERRIE), an ac­knowl­edged ex­pert on ra­di­a­tion risk, told us: ‘I, like you, am of the clear opin­ion that the ac­knowl­edged sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in child­hood leukaemia in Cum­bria is as­so­ci­ated with ra­di­a­tion re­leases … How­ever … the view of the key UK gov­ern­men­tal ra­di­a­tion risk sci­en­tific ad­vi­sory body (COMARE) is that the Cum­brian child­hood leukaemia ex­cess is most likely as­so­ci­ated with “pop­u­la­tion mix­ing”

‘COMARE, and hence the Govern­ment, state that the Cum­brian child­hood leukaemia ex­cess is due to a novel virus brought in by a large num­ber of con­struc­tion work­ers which then goes on to in­fect a rel­a­tively iso­lated local pop­u­la­tion who do not have a de­fence against this virus. ‘Thus the Govern­ment must in­form the local com­mu­nity to expect a po­ten­tial in­crease in risk of child­hood leukeamia fol­low­ing the con­struc­tion of the planned nu­clear fa­cil­ity at Moor­side.’ Nu­clear power pi­o­neer Dr John Gof­man said decades ago: ‘Li­cens­ing a nu­clear power plant is . . . li­cens­ing ran­dom pre­med­i­tated mur­der. When you li­cense a plant, you know what you’re do­ing, so it’s pre­med­i­tated … The ev­i­dence on ra­di­a­tion pro­duc­ing cancer is be­yond doubt. It’s not a ques­tion any more: ra­di­a­tion pro­duces cancer and the ev­i­dence is good all the way down to the low­est doses.’

MAR­I­ANNE BIRKBY, Ra­di­a­tion Free Lake­land, Mil­nthorpe, Cum­bria.

Mar­i­anne Birkby: A new ra­di­a­tion risk in Lake­land?

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