The charity Cancer Research UK has welcomed the findings of an investigation by the British Journal of Cancer, which concluded that there was no apparent extra risk of children developing cancers like leukaemia if they lived near a nuclear power plant.
“It's heartening that this study supports the findings of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE), that being born or living near a nuclear power station doesn't lead to more cases of leukaemia and similar cancers in children under five in the UK.
"But these results can't rule out any possible risk, so it's still important that we continue to monitor both radiation levels near nuclear power plants and rates of cancer among people who live close by.”
– Hazel Nunn, Cancer Research UK’s head of health information
The lead researcher on a project that investigated whether children living or born close to nuclear power sites were more likely to develop cancers like leukaemia has said that there is "no correlation" between the circumstances.
"The incidence of childhood leukaemia near nuclear installations in Great Britain has been a concern ever since the 1980s when an excess of cancer in young people near Sellafield was reported in a television programme.
"Since then, there have been conflicting reports in the UK and Europe as to whether there is an increased incidence of childhood cancer near nuclear power plants.
"Our case-control study has considered the birth records for nearly ever case of childhood leukaemia born in Britain and, reassuringly, has found no such correlation with proximity to nuclear power plants."
– Dr John Bithell, honorary research fellow at the Childhood Cancer Research Group and lead author on the study
Research published in the British Journal of Cancer has found that young children who live near nuclear power plants do not have a greater risk of developing childhood leukaemia or non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Scientists from the Childhood Cancer Research Group in Oxford carried out a study of nearly 10,000 children under five who were diagnosed with leukaemia, or similar cancers, in Britain from 1962 to 2007.
The research focused on the distance from the nearest nuclear power plant both at the time the children were born- and when they were diagnosed with the diseases - and found that there was no apparent extra risk living near a nuclear power plant.