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Last Updated: Monday, 8 December, 2003, 15:04 GMT
New nuclear cancer cluster study
Bradwell Power Station
Bradwell Power Station in Essex closed last March
A major new study on the rates of cancer near a former nuclear power station is set to go ahead, BBC News Online can reveal.

The investigation will be the first given the support of all sides in the radiation debate - including environmentalists such as Greenpeace, nuclear power representatives and government experts.

The study aims to be the definitive investigation into whether leukaemia clusters have developed in communities living close to the former Bradwell Nuclear Power Station on the Essex coast.

The investigation will be carried out by CERRIE - the Committee Examining Radiation Risks from Internal Emitters.

Dr Ian Fairlie, a member of the secretariat of CERRIE, told BBC News Online the study, which is likely to start early next year, is expected to be completed by spring.

This new study will be an attempt to lay the whole thing to rest
Richard Bramhall, of the Low Level Radiation Campaign
"We will look at leukaemia rates and see if they are higher than expected in this area," he said.

In March this year, a study by experts connected to the National Radiological Protection Board found that people living near Bradwell were not at increased risk of developing cancer.

But in February a study by environmental group Green Audit found women living near Bradwell had a higher risk of developing breast cancer.

Richard Bramhall, of the Low Level Radiation Campaign and a member of CERRIE, said: "This new study will be an attempt to lay the whole thing to rest.

'Consensus' study

"It is an attempt to bring all sides together."

CERRIE member Peter Roche, of Greenpeace, said it was good to gain consensus in organising the study.

"It will be a success if it points the government in the right direction and the government acts on it," he said.

CERRIE includes representatives from the Low Level Radiation Campaign, Green Audit, the National Radiological Protection Board, Greenpeace, British Nuclear Fuels.

Bradwell, one of the oldest nuclear power stations in the UK, shut down last March when it stopped generating electricity.

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