Documentary from 1983. Sellafield is still reprocessing and will continue to do so for as long as it can get away with it.
A Guest Blog by John Urquhart
WHY THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY IS KILLING OFF THE HUMAN RACE
When Gallileo pointed out that the Roman Catholic Church’s model of the universe was flawed, i.e the sun did not go around the earth, he was shown the instruments of torture. Now if anyone questions the current scientific paradigm that radiation is safe, their research grants are at risk so everyone who has any academic standing keeps quiet about the real relationship between nuclear power and radiation. No, it is not that nuclear power plants kill off large numbers of people, but that the dominant health paradigm used by the nuclear industry to engineer their continuing existence that important philosophies are steam rolled out of existence. In a sense, it didn’t matter whether the sun went around the earth or the earth went around the sun because either way we could have got rockets to the moon but it does matter if the nuclear industry subverts the scientific process and smothers key genetic and biological arguments. The ‘leukaemia cluster’ at Sellafield was not a cluster in the classic sense because the tenfold excess occurred over a period of 30 years. That in itself should make us very suspicious of any virus theory, since disease epidemics arise and fall in relatively short periods of time.
Unfortunately the apologists for the nuclear industry are playing with too few pieces of information and indeed some of the key data was deliberately withheld. For example, the official UK statistics for childhood leukaemia at the time of Chernobyl were completely distorted and it wasn’t until 2001 that the correct figures were represented. When these are analysed it can be seen that the birth cohort of 1985/86 and 1987/88 both showed a 50% increase over the datum level of 100. Analysis of leukaemia cases for children under 3 years of age demonstrated this effect.. This double peak suggests that two mechanisms were at work associated with Chernobyl. The cohort born in 85/86 was under 12 months when exposed to Chernobyl fall out and was much more sensitive to its effects, whereas the cohort born in 87/88 was the product of fathers exposed to Chernobyl fall out in May 1986. This is a double hypothesis, which fits in with the pattern of leukaemia cases observed around Sellafield, namely a genetic response associated with excess radiation in Sellafield workers and a trigger response associated with exposure of sensitised children from radiation when inhaling or ingesting hot particles from the Seascale beaches.
This combination of increased genetic sensitivity and exposure to increased radiation also explains the KKK German study, which demonstrated an excess of under-5 leukaemia in children born within 5km of German nuclear power plants. Even more astonishing is the dramatic DROP in under-3 leukaemia rates in England and Wales in the cohort born in 1975/76. The western regions of the UK comprising north-west Wales and south west experienced an 80% drop in that cohort. In other words, neither the genetic or trigger causes seem to be present for that cohort. The only rational explanation for the drop so far is that natural radioactive washout over the 1975/76 period did not occur because of the prolonged drought. Nevertheless, natural background radiation levels, even in wash out, are well below acceptable levels for radiation, as pronounced by current models so it is necessary to look at an alternative model to explain the link or rather the lack of it between natural background exposure and a dearth of leukaemia cases. The hypothesis is that it is not the cumulative amount of radiation received by an individual that is important but the rate of radiation received at particular times and that this range of radiation is best expressed not by exposure to external gamma radiation, but the inhalation of radioactive particles associated with this washout phenomenon. For the past 25 years I have been a member of ARGUS, an independent radiation fallout monitoring group with sensors covering the whole of the UK and measuring radioactive levels every ten minutes. On several occasions, the background radiation has risen by 50% – at least 4 standard deviations above normal – and we have associated these increases with acid rain fallout, whereby ceramic particles in the pollution cloud act not only as hydroscopic phoci but also attract radioactive fallout, including polonium 210. We propose that the heightened gamma levels we observed are associated with high levels of beta and alpha washout and it is the alpha and beta particles that create the potential leukaemia risk. But this story is not just about leukaemia. If natural background radiation, or lack of it, can have such a major influence on childhood leukaemia levels, then this would suggest that it is also responsible not just for radiation exposure but genomic instability, which can be defined as increasing the propensity of the human genome to create spontaneous mutations in future generations.
Over the past 70 years, the nuclear industry has consistently played down the biological and genetic impact of radiation by referring to the relatively small doses compared with natural background radiation but the epidemiological evidence we have shows that certain cancers, background radiation or lack of it, can have a major impact but only at certain times when the rate of radiation is dramatically increased through washout. By the same token, the real risk from living near nuclear facilities is not the recorded accumulation of dose but the transient changes in levels, which overwhelm the body’s natural defences at the time – the so called ‘sunbed syndrome’. By maintaining a very simplified version of radiation risk the nuclear industry is condemning the human race to a level of scientific ignorance, which in the long run may lead to our extinction by not acknowledging the real drivers of biological and genetic change.