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Re: incident in France?
> Hi to you all,
> yesterday the TV News reported that an incident was occurring
> somewhere in France in a nuclear power plant.
> Does anybody know anything?
I haven't observed any news items regarding a french incident. I did
find this article though:
Friday January 29 5:08 PM ET
Book Probes French Nuclear Issue
PARIS (AP) - French officials refused to take simple precautions
after the Chernobyl nuclear explosion, leading to unnecessarily
high rates of thyroid cancer, a new book claims.
In ``That Famous Cloud ... Chernobyl,'' investigative reporter Jean-
Michel Jacquemin claims French officials knowingly misled the
population about the dangers of radioactive fallout from the April 26,
``Why? Simply because France is the world's most nuclear-
dependent nation, and officials feared an outbreak of panic and a
powerful anti-nuclear backlash,'' Jacquemin said in a telephone
Nuclear plants generate 77 percent of the nation's electricity - the
most in Europe - and nuclear power is one of France's
Jacquemin accuses government officials, past and present, of
systematically downplaying Chernobyl's effects on health and the
environment. He says France was hit harder than its European
neighbors because officials adopted a do-nothing policy.
Elsewhere in Europe, sandboxes were emptied in public parks,
children were kept indoors and parents told to wash their children's
hair daily, he says. Farmers brought cattle inside, and fresh
produce and dairy products were destroyed.
``But in France, it was business as usual, meaning that the
animals were fed with contaminated hay,'' Jacquemin said. ``A year
later, cows were producing radioactive milk, and their meat was
It wasn't until 17 days after the explosion that Industry Minister
Alain Madelin banned the sale of spinach - and only in the
Alsace region of eastern France, he said.
France no longer flinches at accusations that it misled the
population, but stops short of admitting officials deliberately put
people at risk.
Mireille Rognat-Lacharme, spokeswoman for France's state-run
Institute of Nuclear Safety and Protection, called the book an
``honest description'' of the government's mismanagement of
information following the explosion.
She said a 1987 parliamentary report on the explosion and its
aftermath in France reached ``devastatingly critical'' conclusions
that have resulted in profound changes in nuclear protection today.
Rognat-Lacharme, however, denied charges the explosion led to
higher rates of thyroid cancer.
Although Health Ministry officials say the thyroid cancer rate rose 9
percent following Chernobyl, Rognat-Lacharme said there is no
evidence of a direct link.
``It's simply not true - there is absolutely no proof,'' she said in a
However, the book, which has received wide coverage in the French
media, notes discrepancies between national and regional
statistics on the incidence of thyroid cancer.
Jacquemin cites a regional government study of thyroid cancer,
tracking the disease for 30 years in the Champagne-Ardennes in
eastern France, where heavy rains worsened the effect of the
He says it showed an increase of 30 percent among women, 100
percent among men and 300 percent among the 12-19 age group.
Some doctors are skeptical, saying the increase is due to
improved detection techniques and greater vigilance among general
Jacquemin compares the affair to France's tainted-blood scandal,
where health officials allegedly approved the distribution of HIV-
contaminated blood, mostly to hemophiliacs, while a French
screening test was being developed. Hundreds developed AIDS and
later died. Three ministers go on trial next month.
According to the Independent Commission for Research and
Information on Radioactivity, a nonprofit nuclear watchdog, officials
continue to lie about damage to health and the environment.
Its studies show that a wooded area 20 miles north of Nice, popular
among tourists, is as contaminated as areas around Chernobyl,
which Russian officials have placed under high surveillance.
The CRII-RAD also confirmed recent media reports that some
French thyroid cancer patients have formed an association and
plan to sue the state.
After the Chernobyl explosion, France was among the first
European countries to learn a radioactive cloud had blown its way.
Alarms went off at nuclear plants signaling dangerously high levels
of radioactivity, but the state kept mum.
Ten days later, the Agriculture Ministry said: ``French territory,
because of distance, was totally spared by the radioactive fallout
from the Chernobyl accident.''
A week later, Pierre Perrin, France's top nuclear scientist,
acknowledged on national television that radioactivity levels were
200-400 times higher than the norm.
He said the information had been withheld because of two long
weekends over the May 1 and May 8 national holidays.
Greens spokesman Denis Beaupin called it ``the ultimate nuclear
``Until now, no single official has been made accountable,'' he said
in a telephone. ``That's a scandal.''
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"The object of opening the mind, as of opening
the mouth, is to close it again on something solid"
- G. K. Chesterton -
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