Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

UK: Nuclear cancer study is scrapped

A major study into the rates of cancer near a former nuclear power station has been called off, BBC News Online can exclusively reveal.

The investigation into a possible cancer cluster at Bradwell, Essex, had the support of all sides in the radiation debate.

Environmental scientists say it has been scrapped because of "strong evidence of a cluster".

But that has been disputed by another scientist who blames lack of time.

The investigation, revealed by BBC News Online in December 2003, was to have been carried out by CERRIE - the Committee Examining Radiation Risks from Internal Emitters.

We are left with our original finding which shows the existence of the effect
Dr Chris Busby

Dr Ian Fairlie, a member of the secretariat of CERRIE, said at the time that the study was expected to be completed by spring.

"We will look at leukaemia rates and see if they are higher than expected in this area," he said.

CERRIE members, scientist Dr Chris Busby of the environmental consultancy Green Audit, and Richard Bramhall, claimed the pro-nuclear members of the committee feared the study would show that cancer levels increased in the area near Bradwell nuclear power station.

'Extra cancer deaths'

Dr Busby told BBC News Online: "The study would have confirmed the effect was there. They did not want this. They pulled the plug. We are left with our original finding which shows the existence of the effect."

The original Green Audit study compared the female population of Maldon and another Essex town Burnham-on-Crouch, which is on the River Crouch and away from Bradwell.

Dr Busby said: "Our study and their data shows an extra four breast cancer deaths per year in areas around Bradwell and Blackwater estuary area including Maldon.

"I feel quite angry about it. We have done an awful lot of work for CERRIE on this. We have done it because we believe it is important to find the answer to this.

Confidentiality issues

"It is not just about Bradwell it has implications for all nuclear power stations which discharge into water, including Sizewell nuclear power station. If this was backed the litigation (from people who have developed cancer) would be enormous.

"It would be a research study agreed by a government committee. CERRIE came to the conclusion that this would be embarrassing to the nuclear industry, so they pulled the carpet from under it."

Dr Richard Wakeford, principal research scientist at British Nuclear Fuels and CERRIE member, disputed Green Audit's study showing a cancer cluster.

He said the CERRIE study was delayed by confidentiality issues surrounding people living in the Maldon area who are alive, but have at some point developed cancer.

Dr Wakeford said the Office of National Statistics feared with people living in "small areas, there is a possibility that individual patients could be identified".

"Essentially we just ran out of time to do this study," he said.

CERRIE includes representatives from the Low Level Radiation Campaign, Green Audit, the National Radiological Protection Board, Greenpeace, British Nuclear Fuels.

Bradwell, one of the oldest nuclear power stations in the UK, shut down in March 2003 when it stopped generating electricity.

© BBC MMIV

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Make connections via our GROUPS page.
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

Tags:  

Is This The End Of China’s Coal Boom?

“The End Of China’s Coal Boom,” is a new, must-read …

The Age of Diminishing Returns

A Q&A with Ugo Bardi, author of Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral …

Energy Crunch: The end of business as usual for fossil fuels?

It’s the end of business as usual for fossil fuels. That’s …

Peak oil notes - April 17

A mid-week update. Oil prices in London have risen this week on concerns …

Climate Panel Stunner: Avoiding Climate Catastrophe Is Super Cheap — But Only If We Act Now

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just issued …

Kashagan – Back to the drawing board?

The recent shutdown of Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan represents one …

King Coal Is Dying a Slow Death in America

In cities choked by pollution and a world coming to grips with the realities …