Can We Sleep Easily beside a New Nuclear Power Plant? Wales Will Spearhead a UK-Wide Nuclear Renaissance, after the Announcement Hitachi Is to Build a New N- Plant at Wylfa on Anglesey. but How Safe Is the Industry That Could Bring 7,000 Jobs to North Wales? Darren Devine Reports

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), November 7, 2012 | Go to article overview

Can We Sleep Easily beside a New Nuclear Power Plant? Wales Will Spearhead a UK-Wide Nuclear Renaissance, after the Announcement Hitachi Is to Build a New N- Plant at Wylfa on Anglesey. but How Safe Is the Industry That Could Bring 7,000 Jobs to North Wales? Darren Devine Reports


Byline: Darren Devine

IT was born out of an attempt to turn Robert Oppenheimer's deadly bomb-making experiments to a peaceful purpose.

But from Three Mile Island to Chernobyl to Fukushima the attempts to find a civilian function to the military technology whose deadly introduction to the world was at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 have proved controversial.

Now the latest generation of this technology is on its way to Wales following last week's announcement that Hitachi is to build a new nuclear reactor on Anglesey, and another just four miles over the border from Chepstow, at Oldbury in Gloucestershire.

The move to build in Anglesey was welcomed by politicians, industrialists and trade unionists as heralding a new wave of prosperity on an island that would have struggled to recover from the loss of its existing Wylfa nuclear plant in September 2014.

But for some, the concerns over atomic power are as relevant now as they were in April 1986.

Then, the world's worst nuclear accident at Chernobyl made us realise that fears over radioactive waste and a catastrophic accident were more than just scare stories spread by those on the lunatic fringe of green politics.

Fallout from Chernobyl was 400 times greater than the fallout released in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Dylan Morgan, of Anglesey anti-nuclear group People Against Wylfa B (Pawb), says one scientific study after another has shown the real price of the low-carbon energy the new station will generate is too high.

Research in 2002 showed that the children of men exposed to radiation while working at Sellafield had double the normal risk of developing cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma.

And more recently in 2007, Germany's KiKK research, described as "the world's most methodologically elaborate study", said children under five had double the risk of getting leukaemia if they lived within five kilometres of a nuclear power station.

The research found that the risk of all cancers increases by 60% within the five kilometre radius.

As a result of the study, Germany's Federal Office for Radiation Protection concluded: "The findings can be deemed as being sound; independent findings of different groups have confirmed these findings.

"It can therefore be assumed the risk for a child younger than five years to contract cancer increases the closer it lives to a nuclear power plant to be a fact that has been proven in Germany through the KiKK study as well as an assessment of the findings by panels of experts."

But the German study also concluded the current state of our knowledge on the effects of radiation suggests emissions from the country's reactors are at least 1,000 times too small to be the only cause of the cancers.

And though the German authorities concluded "there were no other risk factors that could plausibly explain these findings" they suggested that further research was needed on the "concurrence of various factors such as genetics and the environment".

Mr Morgan said the findings of the German study resonate on Anglesey.

He said: "The anecdotal perception here and in other areas near to nuclear power stations is that there are lots of cancers around and young deaths from cancers as well.

"So why take the risk? Why take the safety risk? Why take the health risk? Why take the financial risk?" And earlier this year, a study by the French health research body Inserm, found the incidence of leukaemia was twice as high in children living close to nuclear power plants as those living elsewhere in the country. …

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Can We Sleep Easily beside a New Nuclear Power Plant? Wales Will Spearhead a UK-Wide Nuclear Renaissance, after the Announcement Hitachi Is to Build a New N- Plant at Wylfa on Anglesey. but How Safe Is the Industry That Could Bring 7,000 Jobs to North Wales? Darren Devine Reports
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