Bradwell cancer mortality

Cancer mortality near Bradwell Nuclear Power Station, Essex, UK
1995 - 1999

In February 2001 a report of cancer mortality was commissioned following local concern about the health impact of incinerating contaminated waste at Bradwell.

An additional cause of worry was that North Essex Health Authority had commissioned the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) to study cancer in the vicinity of the power station, but that the protocol of the study was dubious.

Green Audit made a preliminary analysis of 26 wards using census data and cancer mortality statistics purchased from the Office of National Statistics.

For reasons of cost this preliminary examination was confined to a small number of wards and the following cancer sites:

  • female breast cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • all malignancies male
  • all malignancies female

The hypothesis to be tested was that radioactivity in silt would be migrating onto the land and that cancer mortality would show an association with areas where radioactivity is most concentrated.


  • There seems to be a clear excess of breast cancer mortality in wards surrounding the Blackwater Estuary.
  • All malignancies in women shows a pattern similar to the breast cancer
  • There is an elevated risk of prostate cancer mortality across the area, though it is less clearly associated with the Blackwater than is the case for breast cancer
  • All malignancies in men shows a pattern similar to the prostate cancer
The report is on this site as a downloadable Word file.

Maps of the relative risks are on this site as downloadable bitmaps. [Each map is 1709 Kb]

[Note: Ward boundaries as shown on the maps are those provided by the Boundaries Commission. They show administrative areas which extend to the middle of channels such as the Blackwater. Thus some wards contain substantial areas below mean high water mark - particularly Maldon East and Heybridge East - which may appear confusing to people who know how big the river is. In Figure 5 we have adjusted the map of breast cancer mortality to show approximately the extent of the Blackwater, as far upstream as Maldon.
Maps on this site do not identify wards by name. Contact LLRC for information if needed.]

Following the discovery that SAHSU had used wrong data, leading to an underestimate of risk, and that one of Green Audit's reports contained a computing error, Green Audit has published a new report. It is available on this site and reveals that SAHSU and the Health Authority attempted to keep the SAHSU error secret. See next page

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This page was last updated May 2001