New study into N plant cancer link

A NEW study of cancer rates around a former nuclear power station will focus on whether leukaemia clusters have developed in the nearby population, it was reported last night.

A NEW study of cancer rates around a former nuclear power station will focus on whether leukaemia clusters have developed in the nearby population, it was reported last night.

The investigation into the health of communities around Bradwell-on-Sea, will be carried out by the Committee Examining Radiation Risks from Internal Emitters (CERRIE).

The group will look to see if there are increased leukaemia rates in areas around the power station, which are likely to include Mersea Island and Tollesbury.

In February of this year a group called Green Audit claimed it had discovered that women living near Bradwell had a higher risk of developing cancer.


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However shortly afterwards the Committee of Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) concluded that its reports contained errors.

A report by COMARE said in March: "There is no evidence of excess risk of cancer mortality in the vicinity of Bradwell Power Station in Essex.

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"Analysis using the best available statistics has shown no significant excess in overall cancer mortality around Bradwell, and there is no significant excess of breast cancer mortality in women living near the Blackwater Estuary or in Maldon."

CERRIE, which was set up under the auspices of COMARE, an independent Government advisory body, will focus entirely on leukaemia cases in the forthcoming study.

The investigation should be completed by the spring, experts have predicted.

With backing from Greenpeace, British Nuclear Fuels and the Low Level Radiation Campaign it is hoped the study will bring all sides together on the subject of cancer clusters near the former nuclear power station.

Mersea Island environmental campaigner, Bobby Teague, said she was pleased at news of the investigation.

"I think it's very good news they are investigating it. I think local people here have been aware of a rise in leukaemia rates.

"The health authority did a study on cancer clusters in 2001 but they did not include leukaemia.

"I believe there needs to be more in terms of research."

Bradwell, a first generation Magnox power station, was built in 1957 and stopped generating power in March of this year.

Standing in a 737 acre site, on an average day its twin reactors produced enough electricity to power three medium sized towns.

Last night a spokesman for British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL), which owns Bradwell, said: "We take our advice from COMARE.

"It was made quite clear by them in March of this year that there is no cancer increase in and around Bradwell."

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