HC Deb 25 July 1989 vol 157 cc677-8W
Mr. Hannam

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent advice he has received from the National Radiological Protection Board with respect to recommendations for further studies on mortality and cancer incidents among British participants in United Kingdom atmospheric nuclear weapons tests and experimental programmes.

Mr. Sainsbury

On 28 January 1988 the NRPB, in collaboration with the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, published its epidemiological report on mortality and cancer incidence amongst British participants in the United Kingdom atmospheric nuclear weapons test programme. The report included data up to the first of January 1984. Since that time NRPB has continued to accumulate data on mortality and cancer incidence amongst both participants and the control group. The NRPB has now advised that, in order to provide a reliable assessment of the further accumulated data for the period 1 January 1984 to 1 January 1989, it will be necessary to conduct a full-scale validation and analysis exercise. Following this advice, we have decided to set in hand a further study as proposed by the NRPB and ICRF, which are the independent experts on these matters.

On the advice of the NRPB and ICRF, the methodology will be the same as that adopted for the original study. They hope to be in a position to report on this further study by the end of 1991, though this timetable is subject to any unforeseen difficulties they may encounter in the validation and analysis of the data.

The NRPB's recommendation and the decision to proceed with this further study are not based on any new and worrying evidence, but rather on a wish to be able to give a definitive statement on whether the overall picture has changed as a result of the further five years follow-up. The MOD and other Government Departments and agencies will, to the extent that it is available, provide all the information sought by the NRPB and ICRF in support of this further study.

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