CERRIE and COMARE chairmen shoot messengers

COMARE and CERRIE Chairmen ignore science and
accuse Meacher of bullying

Here is a link to the article Counting the Dead in the Guardian newspaper (22nd October 2004) in which Michael Meacher drew attention to a key piece of evidence which CERRIE (Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters) has misrepresented.
Below that is a link to the response of the Chairmen of CERRIE (Dudley Goodhead) and COMARE (Bryn Bridges) in the Observer and then to letters in the Guardian.
CERRIE and COMARE Chairmen reported in Observer (24th Oct.)

a further personal attack by
Professor Goodhead in the Guardian (25th Oct.)

A CERRIE member and the commissioning minister reply,
concentrating on the science (Guardian 26th Oct.)

CERRIE Chairman ignores the science
and tries again to impugn Meacher. (Guardian 27th Oct.).

Everyone joins in (Guardian 28th Oct.).
and still no-one addresses the science! (Comment at bottom of page)

Nothing new 29th or Saturday 30th.

Meacher replies ( 31st October)

The main point of the complaints from Goodhead, Bridges and company is that they are trying to deflect attention away from aspects of the scientific debate that remain unresolved.
Starting at the launch of the Majority Report (20th October) they have repeatedly accused us of adopting a confrontational approach from the outset. This is untrue - a distortion of the oppositional structure of the Committee. A balanced two-sided Committee was appointed deliberately, to avoid the kind of blinkered consensus that put egg on ministerial faces in the 1990s when the opinions of BSE advisers turned out to be wrong. Sadly it is now clear that Whitehall's traditions of bias, control and unaccountable reporting practices overcame Meacher's timely attempt to kick scientific advice gathering into a new and more open style.

It is fascinating to see how the tables have turned - in the past it was the anti-nuclear movement that stood accused of being hysterically unscientific. Now Professor Goodhead claims to have been bullied and, ridiculously, that Michael Meacher consistently interfered.
In fact the bullying was done by Professor Goodhead. Reversing a written undertaking he made in 2002 that minority reporting would of course be possible, he began to threaten us with censorship at the beginning of this year. Later, when we insisted on the inclusion of evidence he repeatedly made allegations that what we wrote was libellous, offensive and erroneous but he never identified a single libel, offence, or error. After the CERRIE Committee had voted by 10 to 1 to include our statement he wheeled in Departmental lawyers. Their written opinions are on this site. Left click here to read them (a pdf file) right click to download). They repeat the nonsense about libels, but like Goodhead, identify no libels or negligent misstatements.(The two points that may seem to be specific refer to things that are definitely not libellous.)
Nevertheless, as the audio tape of the Committee meeting shows, members were sufficiently frightened to back down. (We'll put the recording on this website when we have time.)
Professor Goodhead's letter to the Guardian (25th October) repeats the lie - ... none of the experts on the committee was happy to be responsible for publishing incorrect information. Let him say what is incorrect. Our Minority Report contains the excluded Dissenting Statement exactly as it was submitted to CERRIE in June 2004. It has been published, so there is no excuse for failing to specify anything that is false in it.

We are preparing a critique of the inadequacy of CERRIE's majority report - the gag, the leak and the spin doctoring we are seeing presently. Watch this space for news of its publication. In the meantime see if you can make any sense of their Technical Annex 4A paragraphs 9, 10 and 11 - it's where they dismiss the increase in infant leukaemia after Chernobyl.

Finally, CERRIE's conclusion can be summarised as - Well, there are lots of new discoveries and lots of uncertainty, but no evidence that ICRP has got it wrong. After three years! The Greenies on the Committee think this is radical. Why? COMARE has advised Ministers that on the basis of CERRIE's Majority Report nothing needs to change. Uncertainties may mean risks are currently overestimated.
One CERRIE member also thinks that although the Seascale leukaemia cluster is real its cause remains a mystery - we may have to revisit the doses. What can this mean? Answers to conundrum@llrc.org please.

The state of play, after the correspondence up to 31st October 2004, is that CERRIE might as well never have happened. Nothing has changed -

  • the industry, NRPB, COMARE and the people who have livings to make by not rocking boats are saying the existing model is safe,
  • we're saying there's a big problem if they'll only look at the dead people instead of seeing the world through mathematical models,
  • Meacher is saying What about the science,
  • and as usual someone has piped up to say radiation is good for you.
Since the CERRIE Majority Report fails to explain why there is such a wide dispute policy makers remain bewildered. What a waste.
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