max temp: 11°C

min temp: 8°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Sizewell: Ex-physicist rejects nuclear safety plans

10:00 14 January 2013

Sizewell C plans

Sizewell C plans


AN emergency response agency is standing by proposed safety procedures for the Sizewell nuclear site despite scepticism from a former radiation safety specialist.


Barrie Skelcher, a retired Sizewell A health physicist, sought to discredit plans to issue anti-radiation pills if proposals are approved for a new twin reactor.

He also labelled the Suffolk Resilience Forum’s proposed 4km emergency planning zone around the Sizewell site “quite arbitrary”, arguing for a technical assessment of the maximum amount of radioactivity released in the event of a credible accident.

But Suffolk’s current head of public protection said the proposals, which address the risk of a major accident at Sizewell, were based on national and global guidelines

Last week, the Suffolk Resilience Forum, which includes emergency services and local authorities, put forward plans to expand the current 2.4km zone to 4km, covering Leiston and much of Aldringham and Thorpeness, where everyone would receive potassium iodate pills to limit the absorption of radioactive iodine by the thyroid.

Mr Skelcher doubted the effectiveness of the pills if not taken soon enough. He said: “There is no tablet that will neutralise radiation. Unfortunately the concept that there is arises from plans to issue potassium iodate tablets which fill the thyroid gland with stable iodine before the radioactive iodine gets there.

“However the point that is conveniently overlooked is that the tablets should be taken before or very soon after exposure to the radio iodine. Taking them after about three to four hours means they have lost about half their effectiveness - after that, they are pretty well ineffective.

Mr Skelcher also expressed doubt over the 4km emergency zone, in spite of plans for a 15km “precautionary” zone covering Saxmundham. Aldeburgh and Southwold and more than a dozen villages, including Dunwich and Walberswick. He said: “This 4 km zone is quite arbitrary, what is needed is a technical assessment of the amount of radioactivity that would be released in the event of the maximum credible accident.”

Andy Fry, Suffolk County Council’s director of public protection and chair of the Suffolk Resilience Forum, said: “It is important that we have the views of those people around Sizewell before any decisions are made.

“The 4km zone is in line with guidelines issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Iodine tablets are used throughout the world and are intended to reduce the absorption of radiation. The tablets are pre-issued by NHS Suffolk on the recommendation of the Health Protection Agency.”



Fears were raised over the impact the strikes would have on A&E departments.

Strike action by thousands of junior doctors has been suspended so talks can continue, the Government and the British Medical Association (BMA) have announced.

Daniel Compton with daughter Evie

The parents of baby Evie Compton have spoken of their heartache after revealing it is unlikely she will be allowed to fly home to Ipswich for Christmas.

Michael Leaberry

Police are appealing for help to find a missing man believed to have links to Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and north Wales.

Matt Bunn joined the Ipswich Round Table's annual Rudolph Run.

The festive lights have been switched on in the middle of Ipswich and – before we know it – Rudolph and Father Christmas will be spreading their magic around town.

Don't feed the ducks this winter

People are being urged not to feed left over bread to the ducks in Ipswich’s Christchurch Park.

Ipswich Crown Court.

A Suffolk parish council clerk who carried out a £16,000 fraud by over-ordering stationery items and selling them on the internet has walked free from court after a judge decided not to send her straight to prison.

A parade of puppets, live bands, fireworks and a packed Angel Hill, Abbey Gardens and town centre - the annual Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre

Tens of thousands of people swarmed to west Suffolk this weekend for what organisers expect to have been a record breaking Christmas Fayre.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24