The following letter was published in the Whitehaven News today. It is a question we have asked repeatedly…
An Open Letter to All the Candidates in the Copeland By Election
Radiation Free Lakeland are a campaign group for nuclear safety with many supporters in West Cumbria. Last September the science correspondents of all the national newspapers reported on the release of a new report which should concern all the Copeland candidates.
Since the 1980s there have been concerns that nuclear plants were causing leukaeimia in children after disease rates were found to be up to 20 times greater than the national average in communities like Seascale and Maryport
On 30th September 2016 the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (Comare) said there was no evidence that it was nuclear power plants themselves which were behind the increase, as, they said, the radioactive emissions “are too low.”
Instead, they said it was more likely that the large influx of people who moved to rural areas to staff the plants had brought in a mystery virus, which had triggered cancer in the children of local populations. They call this “population mixing.” Historically this was rather less of an increase than that which is being proposed now for Moorside which makes John Woodcock’s carrot of over “20,000 jobs” (Cumbria has 4000 receiving JSA or Universal Credit ) more of a threat than a promise.
How likely is it that previous governments would have knowingly instigated an increase of up to 20 times the national average of childhood leukaemia in Cumbria? Anyone who has been through their child being diagnosed with leukaemia knows the heartache and that their lives and the lives of their whole family and network of friends will be changed forever, whatever the outcome. What on earth could be worth even the risk of one child having leukaemia? In the 1950’s it was the special relationship with America and the Manhattan Project which drove the nuclear industry. One of the key scientists in the Manhattan Project was Dr John Gofman who described the licensing of new nuclear power plants as “premeditated murder” and said that there is evidence of harm to DNA “all the way down to the lowest doses” of radiation. The reason we are told nuclear is “necessary” today is to provide so called “low carbon” electricity. Really? Even the CEO of the National Grid Steve Holliday says that the idea of large coal fired or nuclear power stations for “baseload” power is “outdated.”
Any MP for Copeland, host of the already intolerably dangerous “nuclear heartland’ is tasked not only with protecting the wider population but also West Cumbrians.
We would like to ask you the following question relating to the local population:
QUESTION: COMARE, and the UK government state that the Cumbrian childhood leukaemia excess is due to a novel virus brought in by a large number of construction workers which then goes on to infect a relatively rural local population. Do you think that government must take responsibility for this view and inform the local community to expect an increase in childhood leukeamia following the construction of the planned nuclear facility at Moorside?
Radiation Free Lakeland
Incidence of Increased Cancers
COMARE and Childhood Leukaemia
National Grid – Nuclear is Outdated