Cumbria health chief's nuclear research call

A Cumbria health chief is calling for more research on the nuclear industry's effects on health and wellbeing.

The county's director of public health, Professor John Ashton, commissioned a report about what research had been published and said he was surprised it was so limited.

He said the issue had been highlighted after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan crippled a nuclear power plant.

He said a fully open programme of research was now needed.

The report Prof Ashton commissioned from Liverpool's John Moores University is being presented to NHS Cumbria's Trust board on Wednesday.

'Confusing issues'

It was because of the importance of the nuclear industry to Cumbria in terms of jobs and the economy.

He said the report had made it clear that some issues surrounding the issue of nuclear and health were still contested which made it confusing.

He said: "If you look at what has gone on in Japan over the last few weeks there is clearly a difficulty of confidence in the nuclear industry.

"The public are very suspicious about what they are told and part of this is because of the history of not being open about when things have gone wrong and communicating well with the public and we have seen that clearly over the last few weeks."

He said a proper programme of research was required which needed to be out in the open to give people an opportunity to form their own conclusions.

He said that was particularly important if a new set of power stations was to be built.

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