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Censoring of report into radiation does not disguise risk

5 August, 2004

Sinn Fein Environment Spokesperson, South Down MLA Willie Clarke has expressed alarm that the British government intends to censor a report into the impact of low-level radiation that indicates that radiation from nuclear power stations poses a much greater risk than previously believed.

Mr Clarke said:

"A British Government committee tasked with examining the effects of low-level radiation on communities living close to nuclear power stations has reached a number of findings that make for disturbing reading. The report, due to be published this autumn, will conclude that the methods of calculating the effects of emissions underestimate the risks by at least a factor of 10.

"It is even more worrying that British Government lawyers blocked a minority finding from two of its own experts on the panel because they claim the effects of low level radiation have been grossly underestimated with the risk factor up to 300. The censoring of two experts employed to examine this issue illustrates the level of secrecy that has always surrounded nuclear power plants and their effects on the public.

"These findings reinforce the view here in Ireland that Sellafield has been responsible for the high clusters of cancer and leukaemia cases found all along the East Coast. The method of estimating the risk of cancer to people living close to nuclear installations is fundamentally flawed as it is based on the radiation doses received by causalities from the Hiroshima bomb used in Japan in 1945. People living near nuclear sites are subjected to small doses of radiation over a prolonged period of time through eating and breathing contaminated particles. It is this form of radiation that directly attacks the body's most delicate organs.

"Successive British Governments and BNFL have played Russian roulette with the health and safety of people living along the East Coast of Ireland. They have ignored the significant body of evidence that proves radiation emanating from nuclear power stations has poisoned people and the environment. The censoring of this report demonstrates their determination to cover-up the true extent of the risks of nuclear contamination. However, the commitment of the British government to this source of unclean and dangerous energy is deeply worrying. It is long past the time that Tony Blair grasped the Sellafield nettle and closed these plants once and for all." ENDS

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