By David Green
ANTI nuclear campaigners in Suffolk are calling for a new UK study after researchers in France found an increased incidence of leukaemia among children living in the vicinity of many of that country’s nuclear power plants.The researchers, working for the official French health agencies, found an increased incidence of childhood leukaemia within a five kilometre radius of 19 of France’s nuclear power stations during the period 2002-2007.
Fourteen cases of childhood leukaemia were recorded -double the anticipated number based on population averages. However the study, published in the latest edition of the International Journal of Cancer, found no evidence of a link with radiation emissions and called for further investigations.
Findings from the French study follow a similar report from Germany published four years ago and intermittent claims in the UK over the past four decades – dismissed by various studies by health watchdogs – that radiation from nuclear power stations is responsible for clusters of leukaemia and other cancers.
The UK Government watchdog responsible for detecting links between radiation and disease – the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) – carried out a study last year and found no evidence of greater risk of childhood leukaemia near to nuclear power stations. COMARE has already dismissed the German study as unreliable. It has yet to assess the French research.
Pete Wilkinson, a Suffolk environmental consultant and former national director of Greenpeace, said: “The French study simply adds to the urgency of the work which needs to be done to bring both sides of this argument together and to get all parties involved to fund and undertake a proper joint fact finding study to bring this polarised debate to a more certain conclusion.”
A member of the Sizewell Stakeholder Group, he added: “Until that happens, the acrimony will continue, views will remain divided and children could be at risk.” Claire Cook, spokeswoman for EDF, which owns Sizewell B, said power stations operate within a stringent regulatory system which independently monitors all activities, including radiation emissions.
East Anglian Daily Times, Wednesday, February 15,2012
If it is conclusively demonstrated that the above studies are true, then all nuclear plants must be shut down now.