A recent COMARE report on child cancers near NPPs was published on the day after the Government committed the UK to a new nuclear power station. This was not a coincidence: it is a prime example among many of nuclear policy-led science. We should have science-led policies but these rarely, if ever, occur on nuclear matters. The report downplays radioactive releases from NPPs as an explanation for the nearby raised levels of cancers. Instead it champions the Kinlen hypothesis. Since 1988, Professor Kinlen has been suggesting that increases in childhood cancers near nuclear facilities are due to an infective, perhaps viral, agent arising from the influx of new workers to rural areas. But most scientists throughout the world discredit this theory because of its myriad problems and inconsistencies. First, the idea leads to the expectation of a sharp rise in leukaemia incidence, followed by a decline as the situation settles down. However at Dounreay and Sellafield most of the leukemias arose several decades after the population influxes. In addition, increased leukemias and NHLs continued long after the influxes had stopped and indeed were STILL occuring as recently measured in the 2000s, and are probably still arising today, were the Government to release all the relevant and most recent data. Second, for the hypothesis to be true the leukaemias should occur in the indigenous population and not in the migrants. In fact, at Sellafield, the reverse is mainly the case. Third, the theory does not explain why leukemias have arisen near nuclear facilities without population influxes, eg Aldermaston and dozens of reactors in other countries. Fourth, and most tellingly, no infective agent or virus has ever been found despite intensive research over many decades.
Ian Fairlie 3rd Oct 2016 read more »