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Full Report: Cancer report on nuclear areas

Living next to a nuclear plant was does not increase the risk of childhood leukaemia according to the findings of a report out today.

A possible link was highlighted in a television programme in the 1980s which prompted inquiries into cases of leukaemia in Seascale near the Sellafield planet, known then as Windscale.

Then as now, no firm link was found, so today's news has come as a reassurance to people living in the village.

Watch Samantha Parker's report in full below.

"We find no evidence that there is a risk to children who live near a nuclear power plant"

Children living near nuclear power plants like Sellafield are not at greater risk of contracting leukaemia according to research in the British Journal of Cancer.

There have been suggestions of a link for the last thirty years.

Researchers studied 10,000 leukaemia cases over 40 years across the UK and found there was no apparent link with nearby nuclear sites.


Cancer charity welcomes report's findings

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

"No correlation" between nuclear power plants and cancer in children

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

"No increased risk" of children developing cancer in nuclear areas

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.

Anti-nuclear demonstration in Whitehaven

Nuclear protestors Credit: ITV News Border

Anti nuclear campaigners Radiation Free Lakeland are demonstrating in Whitehaven against rights granted to a Cumbrian landfill which could see Scottish nuclear waste being dumped in the county.

The campaigners say they are showing their support for Cumbria County Council and Copeland Borough Council, who both objected to the proposals in 2011.

In that year the Environment Agency gave permission to FCC Environment landfill at Lillyhall to take in very low level nuclear waste and industrial waste from nuclear operations like Chapelcross in Scotland and Sellafield.

The NDA said today that no nuclear waste from Chapelcross has been taken to the Lillyhall site, but industrial waste from the decommissioned plant had.

A spokesperson form the NDA said:

“The Environment Agency granted a licence in 2011 for Lillyhall Landfill Site to take very low level waste (VLLW) alongside conventional industrial waste from nuclear licensed sites including Sellafield and Chapelcross.

“Consignments of conventional industrial waste and VLLW from Sellafield and Chapelcross are sent to one of three such licensed sites – FCC Environmental at Lillyhall, Sita at Clifton Marsh, Lancashire, or Augean at Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire.

“Consignments from Chapelcross disposed of at Lillyhall under these arrangements have all been non-radiological, conventional industrial waste. These consignments stopped in early 2012 and are now being sent to Avondale in Scotland.”


Anti nuclear march in west Cumbria

Anti nuclear campaigners will be marching from Seascale to the gates of Sellafield nuclear plant in west Cumbria to campaign for the safe storage of the country's radioactive waste.

In January County councillors voted against burying the waste somewhere in the west of the county. It is currently stored in above ground containers at Sellafield.

Our focus will now be on ensuring the waste stored at Sellafield is kept in suitably safe conditions - in line with the recommendations of Cumbria County Council Cabinet's decision and the National Audit Office findings.

"In partnership with Radiation Free Lakeland, we are holding a 3-fold event on March 9th which will be:

– Fiona Goldie, Three weeks to Save the Lakes campaign
  • A celebratory walk to acknowledge the County Cabinet's NO vote.
  • Highlighting of the need to secure existing waste in situ at sellafield and improve storage facilities/minimise radioactive contamination of the surrounding environment
  • Meeting in solidarity with the people of Fukushima and marking the anniversary of the disaster

"Radiation from Sellafield affects the local environment and particles from the plant cause contamination of the the surrounding area.

"Testing of the beaches around the plant have identified high radiation levels. The authorities in Cumbria have decided against warning signs on the beach.

"We will be putting some notices up on the beach, followed by a walk to the Sellafield gates with banners to show solidarity with the Fukushima demo in London.'

– Fiona Goldie, Three weeks to Save the Lakes campaign

The demonstration starts at 10.30 at Seascale car park.

Milestone reached in decommissioning Chapelcross

Workers see off the last spent fuel rod to leave Chapelcross Credit: ITV News Border

A milestone in the decommissioning of Chapelcross was reached today when the last flask of spent fuel left the plant.

The container with around 150 fuel rods on board was transported by lorry from south-west Scotland to be reprocessed at Sellafield in Cumbria.

The former nuclear power plant at Chapelcross stopped producing electricity in 2004.

Its iconic cooling towers were demolished nearly six years ago, however there are still 1300 tonnes of asbestos to clear from the site, along with some intermediate level radioactive waste.

The final steps in the decommissioning process are not expected to finish until 2085.

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