[ RadSafe ] Head of France's nuclear watchdog 'lied over Chernobyl fallout'

Fred Dawson fd003f0606 at blueyonder.co.uk
Fri Jun 2 16:51:42 CDT 2006

Independent reports:


Twenty years after the explosion at the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl in the 
Ukraine, the legal fallout has just reached France
Professor Pierre Pellerin, who was the head of France's nuclear safety 
watchdog 20 years ago, has been formally accused of deliberately concealing 
the seriousness of contamination of parts of the French countryside from the 
French people

An investigation is continuing into the responsibilities of politicians in 
the alleged cover-up, including the role of Jacques Chirac, who was the 
prime minister. But for the time being, anti-nuclear campaigners and a group 
of 500 thyroid cancer sufferers are celebrating a first victory in a 
marathon legal campaign.
Professor Pellerin, now 82, has been placed under formal investigation for 
"aggravated deception", but a potentially more serious accusation of causing 
"involuntary bodily harm" was dropped on Wednesday.

At the time of the explosion at the Chernobyl reactor on 26 April 1986, the 
professor was head of the agency, attached to the Health Ministry, which 
reported on risks to health. As the "cloud" of contamination passed over 
France between 30 April and 5 May that year, Professor Pellerin issued a 
series of reassuring statements. He published low average findings of 
radiation across whole regions. Campaigners have long protested that this 
deliberately concealed the fact that there were pockets of contamination 
which suffered high rainfall as the Chernobyl cloud moved westwards.

In a four-hour interrogation by a judge on Wednesday, Professor Pellerin 
said that he had issued accurate and balanced information to the public. The 
investigation is likely to continue for several years and the case may never 
come to trial.


Fred Dawson

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