Growing public concern about childhood cancers and leukaemia round nuclear power plants

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08.10.2009, 11:27:1508.10.09

We attach a circular letter from CANE - Communities Against Nuclear Expansion. Please read it and consider a response. The Low Level Radiation Campaign is supporting CANE's call for a "UK KiKK" study. We shall do all in our power to make sure it is designed to give a reliable answer to the question of whether nuclear power stations cause disease.

Background - the German KiKK

In Germany in recent years there has been growing public concern about childhood cancers and leukaemia round nuclear power plants. Public outcry led the government to commission an "Epidemiological Study on Childhood Cancer in the Vicinity of Nuclear Power Plants (Epidemiologische Studie zu Kinderkrebs in der Umgebung von Kernkraftwerken), known by the acronym KiKK.

The study area included 41 counties in the vicinity of all 16 German nuclear power plants. It found that children younger than 5 years old living within 5 km of a nuclear plant were more than twice as likely to develop leukaemia compared with children living more than 5 km distant. A significant increase in leukaemia was also observed up to 10 km distant.

It is generally acknowledged that the KiKK study was well designed and that its findings cannot be ignored. A large problem however is that, in the absence of information about exposure to radioactivity, the study used proximity to the power stations as a surrogate indicator of exposure.

The usual official mindset has swung into action to deny causation and to look for causes other than direct irradiation or exposure to radioactive emissions.


The way forward

We have always said it is necessary to look where the radioactive discharges go to in the environment and to consider mechanisms, such as sea-to-land transfer, that might cause them to affect people. We believe that any new study must build on the results of the German KiKK and in particular it must be based on well-defined populations living close to areas of contamination. We are working with members of the European Committee on Radiation Risk and some of the epidemiologists who designed the KiKK.

The CANE letter sets out to gather support in principle for a UK KiKK and to define the methods later. We agree with this approach.

Please consider endorsing CANE. Contact details are in the attached letter.

We are including contacts in countries other than UK in this mailing. If you can offer your support or ideas and experience please do so.

Richard Bramhall

Low Level Radiation Campaign

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