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Childhood cancer incidence around Dounreay and Sellafield

Childhood leukaemia is rare, affecting approximately 500 children every year in the UK. There have been numerous studies and reports on the possible risks of childhood leukaemia in the vicinity of nuclear installations and there are acknowledged historical clusters of childhood leukaemia around both Sellafield and Dounreay nuclear sites. Recent reports of raised thyroid cancer incidence following reactor accidents in other countries have led to increased interest in the possible consequences of the 1957 Windscale fire. The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) is publishing its 17th report, ‘Further consideration of the incidence of cancers around the nuclear installations at Sellafield and Dounreay’ – a comprehensive review of the incidence of leukaemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and other cancers among young people around the Sellafield and Dounreay nuclear installations, updating its previous work. COMARE is a Department of Health Expert Committee providing independent advice to all government departments and agencies. read more

nuclear experts react to announcement on Hinkley Point

The board of the French energy firm EDF has approved the funding of a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. These comments were issued following that decision but the UK government has subsequently decided to review the project with a decision expected in the autumn. read more

power cuts and electricity blackouts

We’ve become accustomed to a reliable supply of electricity, but short, local power cuts still occur. And every year at this time we hear questions about whether we have enough power station capacity to meet demand – and about the risks of the ‘lights going out’. What causes power cuts and what can we expect in future? What will be the impact on reliability from changes in the electricity system from renewables and new nuclear, as well as the phasing out of coal power stations by 2025? What role will smart systems play, and what measures will be used to balance demand as well as supply? A new briefing document prepared by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) explores these questions and addresses the myths and truths about power cuts and blackouts. read more

the Sellafield plutonium problem

Sellafield has amassed around 140 tonnes of plutonium on site – the largest stockpile of civil plutonium in the world. For now it is being stored without a long-term plan, which is costly and insecure. At some point a decision will need to be taken on how it is dealt with. Should we convert it into useable fuel or get rid of it? What are the options? How insecure is it in its current state? How long can this decision be put off, and why does it matter? read more

are Britain’s nuclear plants fit for purpose?

Most of Britain’s operating nuclear reactors are of a type that nobody else in the world has. Over recent months we have seen media reports about cracks in the reactor cores, problems with the boiler units and claims that the regulators are “moving the goalposts” to allow them to operate for longer than they should. Are the current nuclear plants fit for purpose, will they keep the lights on this winter, and for how long can we rely on them to soldier on? read more

expert reaction to study on nuclear fusion

Nature reported experiments that have succeeded in releasing more energy through a fusion reaction than is absorbed by the fuel, marking an important step towards nuclear fusion as a viable alternative energy source. read more

expert reaction to Government announcements on nuclear R&D

The Government’s Nuclear Industry Strategy was announced at the same time as a report from an ad hoc Nuclear R&D Advisory Board, under the leadership of Chief Scientist Sir John Beddington, which looked at the implications for R&D of a wide range of nuclear futures. read more

nuclear research and development

In 2012 the Government established an ad hoc Nuclear R&D Advisory Board, under the leadership of Chief Scientist Sir John Beddington, to look at the implications for R&D of a wide range of nuclear futures. The report set out a route to help the UK to return to the international “top table” in relation to nuclear research. read more

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