French angst over nuclear powerBMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7075.235 (Published 18 January 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:235
- Alexander Dorozynski
- medical journalist, Paris
The French establishment's response to the publication of a study linking childhood leukaemia with environmental exposure to waste from a nuclear reprocessing plant in Normandy (BMJ 1997;314:101-6) was like an immunological reaction: it was very rapid and attempted to reject a foreign body that interfered with one of its functions.
The antigen trigger was an article by Dominique Pobel and Jean-François Viel, epidemiologists at the University of Besançon, which suggested a causal relation between the incidence of leukaemia and exposure to weak doses of radiation around the La Hague nuclear waste processing centre. The establishment, sensitive about any criticism concerning France's nuclear industry, which provides the country with 80% of its electrical power, immediately went on the defence.
INSERM, the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, faxed …