Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima

Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima
We feel very sad for the people of Japan who want to end nuclear energy whilst a potential new government and big business are desperate for it

No Fukushima at Oldbury

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Government did not properly consider the implications of Leukaemia in children

Chris Huhne faces legal challenge over nuclear link to cancer in children

Community worker who lives near proposed nuclear power stations in Lancashire launches unprecedented case
Climate change minister Chris Huhne
Climate change minister Chris Huhne. Photograph: Christopher Thomond
The government has ordered an expansion of the UK's nuclear programme without properly factoring in evidence that nuclear powerstations cause an increase in cancer cases in children living nearby, according to a legal challenge in the high court.
The case alleges that the energy and climate secretary, Chris Huhne,did not properly review the evidence on cancer when giving the go-ahead for the expansion last year. Lawyers claim the action could delay, or even stop, the programme of new reactors.
Rory Walker, a 24-year-old community worker from Lancaster, has won legal aid to launch the unprecedented case.
Walker lives close to Heysham where two new reactors are planned, and says he is worried about having children who could suffer an increased risk of leukaemia.
"It is folly beyond belief, and almost genocidal, to build new nuclear power stations," he said. "Nuclear power is unsafe, uneconomic and a dangerous distraction."
Walker's decision to go to court predates the Fukushima nuclear crisis following the Japan tsunami, though Walker said it has reinforced his fears.
He is an active member of the Heysham Anti-Nuclear Alliance, and works on a project to help local people grow more food on a community allotment. Under legal aid rules, he has agreed to contribute 10% of his income towards the cost of the legal action.
Walker alleges that evidence from government-sponsored studies in Germany was not adequately taken into account by Huhne. It suggests that young children who live close to nuclear power stations are twice as vulnerable to developing leukaemia. The studies, known as KiKK (Kinderkrebs in der Umgebung von KernKraftwerken), prompted aninvestigation by the UK Department of Health, which has not yet been published.
Ian Fairlie, a consultant on radiation in the environment, is acting as an expert witness in support of Walker's court challenge.
"If the risks found following the KiKK study were applied to Heysham, infants and young children under five living within 5km would be exposed to increased risks of cancer, especially leukaemia," he said.
Huhne is accused of breaching a 1996 directive from Europe's nuclear agency, Euratom. Andrew Lockley, a partner with Irwin Mitchell, said: "The fundamental purpose of the Euratom directive is to make sure that a comprehensive and detailed assessment is made before new nuclear reactors are built."
"It does not permit an approach which appears generalised, generic and deferred. Justification requires that the health detriments should be considered and balanced against the economic, social or other benefits which may occur – but this doesn't seem to have happened here." The lawyers want a judicial review to rule that Huhne acted unlawfully, and to quash his decisions.
A spokeswoman for Huhne at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) said: "We are confident that the decisions were rightly and properly made. The safety of our nuclear power stations is the government's number one priority and the UK has one of the most rigorous and robust regulatory systems anywhere in the world."
She added: "The government have asked the chief nuclear inspector, Dr Mike Weightman, to produce a report on the implications of the unprecedented events in Japan and the lessons to be learned for the UK nuclear industry."
A spokesperson for the Nuclear Industry Association, which represents nuclear companies said: "This matter is now part of the legal process and we are not therefore in a position to comment."
The government has until the end of the month to make a formal response to the legal action, which will then go to a judge, who may order a hearing in London.

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