Sickness at the heart of nuclear policy
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?