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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Helpline for organ removal probe
Samples were taken legally, says the British Nuclear Group
A public helpline has been set up as part of the inquiry into the removal of body tissue from nuclear workers.

Michael Redfern QC is looking into 65 reported cases, mainly involving staff employed at Sellafield in Cumbria between 1962 and 1992.

He was appointed to investigate why samples were taken and whether next of kin were informed.

The helpline is for relatives of workers concerned that tissue may have been taken without consent.

An inquiry was launched in April after the GMB union said samples were taken from up to 70 former Sellafield employees.

We are keen for as many people as possible to come forward and help us with this inquiry
Michael Redfern QC

Since then it has widened to include the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Berkshire and the UK Atomic Energy Agency (UKAEA) at Harwell in Oxfordshire.

British Nuclear Group, which owns the Sellafield site, says tissue was taken for "legally correct" purposes.

Mr Redfern, who conducted the inquiry into the removal of body organs at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, has arranged a point of contact at his offices in Manchester.

He also plans to set up an additional base in Whitehaven.

'Body parts'

He said: "We are keen for as many people as possible to come forward and help us with this inquiry.

"I recognise that people in Cumbria are keen for there to be an office in west Cumbria and I too feel that this is important.

"Contact details for our Whitehaven office will be issued in the next few weeks. I anticipate that a family support group will be up and running within the same time period."

Samples taken at Sellafield include tissue, bones and body parts removed without permission, the GMB claimed.

There is also one known case from the Capenhurst nuclear site in Cheshire and two from the Springfields nuclear site in Lancashire.

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