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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, 
1986, explosion.  

``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
best-selling exports.

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 
telephone interview.

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.'' 

Sandy Perle
E-Mail: sandyfl@earthlink.net 
Personal Website: http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/1205

"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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