LLRC Journal Radioactive Times. Vol.5 No 1

Radioactive Times. Vol.5 No 1

Editorial

Well the first thing is to apologise for leaving you all in the dark about our activities for the best part of eighteen months. Apart from our annual report, we have not produced Radioactive Times for two years, although the website has been kept mostly up to date, thanks to the efforts of Richard Bramhall.
This has not been due to indolence, but because we have become too busy moving the project forward and trying to cope with the enormous amount of work that has resulted from our successes in planting the question about the risks of low dose radiation in the heart of government, and indeed, in the heart of the nuclear industry itself.
The last twelve months have seen amazing changes in this area. We have been able to influence the Department of Health and the new Department of the Environment (DEFRA) to jointly bypass the biased Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) and set up an investigation under the new Committee Examining Radiation Risks from Internal Emitters (CERRIE) which has Chris Busby and Richard Bramhall of LLRC facing senior scientists from the National Radiological Protection Board and BNFL. This committee will produce a report which must contain both perspectives on the issue and which will bypass COMARE and go directly to government.
Things have moved on so fast that the Nukes themselves have invited Chris to give plenary presentations on the risk from exposure to low level man-made radiation at their own conferences, the latest being the British Nuclear Energy Societyís three-day International conference held at Oxford University in September. Chris stalked into the Clarendon Laboratory lecture theatre dressed entirely in black and carrying the skull of a human child, to remind the 130 radiation risk experts and radiation biologists that their researches and deliberations had a very real effect on the real world that they were modelling in the laboratory. This is an echo of the BNES conference at Stratford on Avon in 1997 which Richard Bramhall gatecrashed dressed as Death, chaining himself to the stage during Sir Richard Dollís keynote speech.
In addition to CERRIE, the Low Level Radiation Campaign is represented on the Ministry of Defence Oversight Board on Depleted Uranium, a group appointed by the MoD to arrange for the measurement of DU in the urine of Gulf War veterans and to examine any relationship with illness.
In this issue, we will try to give an update on progress on the DU front, which of course is of renewed importance now that U.S and U.K. forces have again used these illegal and immoral weapons in Iraq.
We will try to produce another issue of RaT soon which will concentrate more on our progress in the general area of radiation risk. Here, the main interest is small-area epidemiology. Studies of cancer risk in wards near Hinkley Point have been extended to Bradwell in Essex, Oldbury and Berkeley on the Severn and the Cardiff coastal and riverside areas which are contaminated by the Tritium released from the Amersham isotope factory. Very recently, Green Audit has begun an analysis of cancer mortality in Scotland from 1994-99 down to ward level. Using data purchased from the Scottish Parliament every ward in Scotland will be analysed and Social Class standardised cancer risks for all malignancy, breast, prostate, leukemia and lung cancer for each ward will be available. Initially the study will concentrate on areas around Hunterston, Torness and Chapelcross.
January 2003 saw the launch in Brussels of the 200 page report of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, ECRR2003 Recommendations of the European Committee on Radiation Risk: the Health Effects of Ionising Radiation Exposure at low doses for Radiation Protection Purposes, Regulators' Edition. This is the culmination of three years preparation of a new risk model by a new committee consisting of European scientists and other experts. The committee has developed an alternative rational model of radiation risk assessment which is distinct from the models used by the ICRP and both predicts the outcome of future exposures and explains the outcome of earlier ones. The existence of this ECRR committee should provide a valuable resource for those of us who are arguing that the ICRP model is unsafe. Some details of the model and the report are given in this issue. ECRR have their own website www.euradcom.eu and will be publishing further reports in the near future, including ones on DU, Chernobyl effects and Auger emitters.


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