First slide


Why it is: Unaffordable - Dangerous - Unnecessary - Bad For The Environment





In the day to day running of a Nuclear Power Station, radioisotopes are released into the air and the river or sea water used for cooling. There is a proven link between increased numbers of cancers and leukaemias in the local population close to nuclear power stations, attributable to this increased level of radiation. Read on for details…


How low level radiation causes serious disease. During the expected 40 year life of Nuclear reactors radioactive isotopes of low level radioactive waste will be discharged into our environment 24/7, not only in the river but also into the atmosphere . This is known as LDLLR – Low Dose Low level radiation 


Once in the river it is intended to be flushed into the estuary and then into the ocean. This is the so-called ' high -tech ' solution to ‘dispose’ of this waste. In reality however, many of these radioisotopes will get trapped locally in river sediment and on estuary mud banks. At low tide and in drying periods, during warmer weather, radioactive particles invisible to the eye, that cannot be felt, smelt or tasted, will become re-suspended in the air we breathe and therefore are able to easily gain access to inside our bodies.


The nuclear industry and the pro-nuclear lobby mislead the public into believing that low level alpha and beta particles are safe because they cannot easily penetrate the skin and therefore cannot irradiate blood, tissue, organs and bone. But this conveniently ignores the fact that we all have to breathe to survive... 


...If the air we inhale contains even very minute particles of low level alpha and beta radioisotopes invisible to the eye, when taken into our lungs they enter the blood stream and can reach all major organs of the body. 


Internal Emitters. If they lodge in the blood, lungs, tissue, organs and bones of our bodies, they continuously irradiate us from inside. While apologists for nuclear power will repeat the mantra that the radioactivity is no more than that received from a medical X-ray, once lodged in the body as "internal emitters", these deadly particles continue to irradiate us non-stop, leading to cancers, other serious medical conditions and premature death. It is like a part of your body being under a medical X-ray machine 24/7 for the rest of your life.


A table of just some of the radioisotopes discharged under licence from nuclear power plants: 



 Isotope  Half-life  Type Notes 
Caesium - 137  30 yrs Beta 

Causal link to premature heart lesions and deaths in children following Chernobyl accident in 1986.[Bandashevsky 2000]

Strontium - 90   28 yrs Beta  

Incorporated into bone and causes bone cancer - all of us already have this in our bones from global nuclear weapons testing fall out.

Iodine - 131 & 132   2 hrs  Beta  

An early indicator of fall out-induced thyroid cancer

Carbon - 14   5,730 yrs  Beta  

Carbon is common to all life so this isotope is a major environmental hazard.


Targets. While there are International and National targets for the limits on radiation allowed to be released, in reality Nuclear Power Stations are asked to keep the releases As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA). 


A report from Berkeley and Oldbury nuclear power stations for the Site Stakeholders in 2008 shows how ALARA is applied to airborne and water discharges. Some of the graphs show alarming peaks of high releases of radioactivity over the years. A PDF of the full report can be seen or downloaded here. Many of the graphs show worrying spikes of radioactive releases over the lifetime of the two power stations.


Of particular interest is page 29, Radioactivity on Takishades  (instruments that collect data on radionuclides present in the atmosphere) located in the immediate area. They show spikes of 50, 75, and 100 Becquerels between 1970 and 1981, which should be compared with the fallout from Chernobyl in 1986 which was no more than 3 or 4 Becquerels. The Chernobyl fallout on the UK was so severe that it was only in 2012, 26 years later, that lamb bred on the Welsh hills was allowed to be sold - previously it was too radioactive and the lambs were required to be slaughtered. Even allowing for the possible disparity of rainfall on the Severn valley after Chernobyl compared to the Welsh hills, this is an alarming statistic.BBC news.



In the mid 1980 a cluster of childhood leukaemias was found in the Lydney area, opposite Berkeley and Oldbury Nuclear Power Stations. There were 7 cases of leukaemia in young children several of whom had strong links to the River Severn as their fathers were fishermen or worked very close to the river. Epimediologist John Urquhart proved that the cluster could not have been caused at random but that there had to be an environmental cause.


 The nuclear industry claim that clusters around power stations are due to an influx of new workers to an erstwhile rural area. But that is certainly not the reason in this case, as the Forest of Dean’s population was not affected by the building of the power stations, being on the other side of the river.


 A study around Hinkley power station on the Severn Estuary also revealed some disturbing facts: in the 6 years up to 2001 they found 3 times as many deaths in children under 1 year as would normally be expected. In all there were 18 deaths – statistically significant according to a report based on Government statistics. This followed a period of illegal radioactive discharges from Hinkley – for which the Power Station was fined


 Dr Derek Pheby, former Head of South West Cancer Registry said on “Inside Out”, local TV: 


“The report raised some serious causes for concern. It does show an increase in infant death in proximity to the plant. It does show a dose response relationship – ie the further from the plant you get the fewer the increased deaths there were. I think this is something that can't be ignored. It doesn’t actually prove anything, but it does raise some very serious questions which need to be investigated more deeply. And we do know that radiation discharge has been associated with cancer in other locations. We do know there was a discharge of radioactive materials from Hinkley Point before which could be associated with this and I don’t think it can be ignored".


French health experts find childhood leukaemias twice as likely near nuclear power stations says a 2012 report (Newsagency Reuters). The incidence of leukaemia is twice as high in children living close to French nuclear power plants as in those living elsewhere in the country, a study by French health and nuclear safety experts has found. Michael Meacher, as Environment Minister, set up the Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters, an advisory body which looked into the large amount of evidence showing that releasing radioactivity into the environment may be far more dangerous than was previously thought. He believed “The true effects of radioactive discharges must be resolved before any commitment to new nuclear power stations is made.” Michael Meacher was sacked from his post by Tony Blair in 2003 and no more work was done on this by the Government, despite overwhelming evidence. 


LDLLR, according to Dr John Gofman, former advisor to the Atomic Energy Commission, is “conducting a war against humanity".

Placeholder image


An unsuspecting child plays in the shadow of the Three Mile Island nuclear power station.