Monday, 28 December 2009

Infant Leukemias near all German Nuclear Power Stations is not an Example of Bad Science

John Mclevy (letters Dec 24) alleges that the German study on infant leukemias near all German power stations is an example of bad science being used for political purposes. However he fails to back this claim with any evidence from the study itself. It is doubtful whether he has read the study.

In fact, the German study is extremely robust: it was commissioned by the German Government and carried out by a expert team of epidemiologists at the University of Mainz. These scientists actually supported nuclear power, so there was no "political purpose" as he falsely alleges. The reality is that the German study is thoroughly competent and its findings are scientifically valid, as vouchsafed by the German Government itself.

Contrary to Mclevy's view, the study is not bad science, but very good science. The problem is that its findings are, in the words of Al Gore, "An Inconvenient Truth" for Mclevy and his pro-nuclear bias.

Faced with this incontrovertible evidence of infant leukemias near nuclear reactors, what should we do? Should we, as the cigarette companies did for decades, seek to distort, deny, and smear the clear evidence of increased cancers, as Mclevy seems to do? Or should we seek safer healthier alternatives to generate electricity?

Mclevy states that he supports nuclear as "we need to stop burning carbon". But does he consider the huge amounts of carbon released during the nuclear fuel cycle, especially by uranium mining, uranium milling, and uranium fuel enrichment?

Renewable energy and energy efficiency measures are a better future for us, not the old-fashioned dangerous WW II technology of nuclear power.

Reg Illingworth

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