11 January 2009
Dear Sir (Guardian)
Surely no coincidence, with energy supplies low and pressures to build a new generation of nuclear power stations increasing, that a new attempt is launched to belittle the dangers of radiation. (Radiation threat overstated – Oxford professor; Guardian 11 January). The problem with radiation, like other forms of ‘invisible’ pollution, is the difficulty of accurately measuring individual doses over a lifetime. What none of the so-called experts takes into consideration is that we are no talking simply of radiation from external sources, but also about radiation caused by ingested radioactive elements – a far more serious threat. The terrible consequences of ingesting radioactive dust have been extensively documented in Iraq and the former Yugoslavia where the US and Britain used depleted uranium weaponry. The radioactive dangers from nuclear testing in the fifties and sixties came from ingested Caesium-137 and Strontium-90. Animals at the top of the food chain, like humans, tend to accumulate such elements in their tissue and this is what constitutes the greatest danger. Any increase in the amount of radioactive material in the atmosphere is potentially very dangerous. If the nuclear industry can guarantee that won’t happen, then it would be a different ball game.