§ Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department has made any assessment of the relative incidence of leukaemia and lymphatic cancer in children living near the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment in Aldermaston and the Royal Ordnance Factory, Burghfield, compared with the incidence of those diseases in other parts of the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Norman Lamont
My Department is aware of suggestions that there is a higher than expected incidence of such illnesses in these areas. The Ministry of Defence is of course interested in any soundly based scientific research into the incidence of radiation related illnesses in the vicinity of its establishments. So far we have seen no evidence to suggest that there are any links between our establishments and cancer of any kind. Furthermore, the amounts of radioactivity originating from the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston and the Royal Ordnance Factory, Burghfield are very low indeed and the maximum radiological doses associated with them would not exceed one thousandth of the annual limit recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection for members of the public, including children. The ICRP's recommendations are endorsed internationally and have been confirmed as acceptable for the UK by the National Radiological Protection Board, which is advised by the Medical Research Council.