October 21, 2010
high cancer rates in Burnham-On-Sea linked to Hinkley Point?
fears about the health effects of Hinkley Point power station
on people living in the Burnham-On-Sea area have been raised this
It follows the release of figures that suggest breast cancer
diagnoses are 50 per cent above national figures in Burnham-On-Sea.
French energy giant EDF wants to build a new reactor at Hinkley
Point but a study by Professor Chris Busby, of Green Audit, casts
doubt over claims that the new reactor would have no ill-effects
on those living in Burnham.
In response to the study, though, public health bosses have been
quick to claim that there is still "no compelling evidence"
of a link between Hinkley Point and statistical rates of cancer.
Professor Busby's study centres on the electoral wards of Burnham-On-Sea
north and south, where 54 extra cases above average were recorded
between 1994 and 2004.
figures have been confirmed by Professor Derek Pheby, former director
of the South-Western Regional Cancer Registry, and a member of
the Medical Research Council.
Anti-nuclear pressure group Stop Hinkley argues this is enough
evidence to state that a further power station should not be built.
But NHS Somerset spokesman Paul Courtney told Burnham-On-Sea.com
on Thursday (October 21st): "Public Health Advisors with
NHS Somerset note the comments and concerns being made by those
opposed to the development of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley
Point, however the Primary Care Trust has seen no new or compelling
evidence to date which would support the campaigners' hypothesis
that radioactive pollution arising from the past operation or
the recent decommissioning of Hinkley Point is responsible for
a statistical increase in the incidence of breast or any other
cancer in the surrounding area."
"If campaigners do feel they have new information which might
reasonably support such a causal link between environmental pollution
and health then they are strongly advised to bring this to the
direct attention of the respective statutory agencies charged
with regulating nuclear industry and monitoring environmental
pollution. Alternatively, they may bring this to the attention
of their local MP or the Chief Medical Officer for England and
Hinkley obtained the new figures following a House of Lords ruling
that allowed 'incidence' or 'diagnosis' data to be made available.
Previously, only 'mortality' data or death rates were available.
Stop Hinkley says incidence data is more helpful in linking environmental
causes to health effects as bigger statistics are involved.
It applied to the South West Public Health Observatory to provide
the figures under the Freedom of Information Act and commissioned
Professor Busby to analyse them.
Between 1994 to 2004, 113 women would have been expected to contract
breast cancer in the area, however Prof Busby found 167 women
were diagnosed, 50 per cent higher than normal.
The random chance of this occurrence in the two electoral wards
was one in two million - and Stop Hinkley says the study backs
up several previous health studies.
a discussion with Professor Busby, health officials at the South
West Public Health Observatory suggested that the whole region's
breast cancer rate is one quarter higher than the national average,
reducing some of the claimed Burnham excess. But Prof Busby says
the Office of National Statistics national and regional figures
confirm the risk at Burnham.
Professor Pheby has called on the Observatory and Professor Busby
to collaborate on future studies.
Jim Duffy, Stop Hinkley coordinator, told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"For years, the nuclear industry and health officials have
been smearing Professor Busby's work. But luckily he hasn't gone
away and is now supported by an eminent professor. With confirmed
breast cancer rates like this it would be inhuman to allow Hinkley
C to go ahead with its massive outpourings of radio-isotopes."
"If, as Professor Pheby suggests, the Government secretly
accepts the truth of this cancer cluster and refuses to act because
it wants nuclear power that would be heartlessly criminal and
"Over fifty Burnham families have needlessly lived with this
killer disease in the last decade alone. Let's stop the cause
of it by snuffing out nuclear power at Hinkley Point."