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Standing Conference on Health and Safety in the Nuclear Age

288 pages
Scientific and technical research
Target audience: Scientific
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Commission of the European Communities
mtion protection — 40
Standing Conference
Health and Safety in the Nuclear Age Commission of the European Communities
radiation protection — 40
Standing Conference
Health and Safety in the Nuclear Age
First meeting
Proceedings of a conference held in Luxembourg, 5 to 7 October 1987
organized by:
Commission of the European Communities
Employment, Social Affairs and Education
Health and Safety Directorate
Information for the public and the media
on health protection and safety with regard to nuclear activities
Employment, Social Affairs and Education p/ ,,. -> \'\0\\¡
Health and Safety Directorate
c ^rZS-Stf
1988 ^NO ^X 6%J\ |CL'EUR11608EN Published by the
Telecommunications, Information Industries and Innovation
Bâtiment Jean Monnet
Neither the Commission of the European Communities nor any person
acting on behalf of the Commission is responsible for the use which
might be made of the following information
Cataloguing data can be found at the end of this publication
Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1988
ISBN 92-825-8898-X Catalogue number: CD-NA-11608-EN-C
© ECSC-EEC-EAEC, Brussels · Luxembourg, 1988
Printed in Belgium PREFACE
Since I have become European Commissioner responsible for radioLogicaL
protection, one of my principal concerns has been the need to open up
channels of communication between the public and the scientific
In a little over thirty years, more than three hundred commercial
nuclear plants have been brought into operation; in the Community one
third of our electricity is already of nuclear origin. Safety has
always been a major concern of the industry, but communication with
the public has not kept pace.
Accidents such as Windscale, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are
remembered with fear and concern everywhere; other lesser incidents
may not receive such wide publicity, but are well known locally. In
this situation it is only natural that people start asking questions,
questions which fully merit, but too frequently have not received, an
adequate response.
Detailed technical information is widely available but is generally
too complicated to be suitable for direct public consumption. On the
other hand, reassurances which do not explain the facts often serve
only to frustrate and increase concern. To the credit of the
authorities, and of the industry, some attempts have been made to
produce uncomplicated but technically meaningful information aimed at
the general public; the problem is that even in these cases, such
III information often receives very Limited circulation whereas more
dramatic and often Less well founded allegations receive wide
As a result we have a vast range of opinion from total confidence in
the safey of the industry to profound concern, but there is little or
no dialogue across the spectrum. The nuclear industry does have a high
standard of safety but it is not beyond criticism; equally many of the
more extreme fears have no objective justification. We must continue
our efforts to achieve ever higher standards of safety but, at the
same time, we must seek to ensure that such standards are not only
attained but are seen to be attained. It is for this reason I convened
the first meeting of the Standing Conference on Health and Safety in
the Nuclear Age. It is my intention that the Conference will be
reconvened at regular intervals to promote a dialogue which can
contribute both to improved safety standards and to increased public
understanding. The present volume contains the proceedings of that
meeting and I would commend it to all shades of opinion.
The meeting was attended by representatives of national governments,
political parties, environmental and consumer organisations,
scientific bodies, the nuclear industry, employers, trade unions and
the media. It was the first time, but certainly not the last, that
such a broad spectrum of opinion had come together at European
Community' level.
The presentations also reflected the many diverse interests and over
the five sessions covered many subjects, including the risks
associated with low doses of radiation, the impact of the Chernobyl
accident on the Community and the role of public information.
Undoubtedly, the meeting sparked a lively dialogue at Community level.
The need for continuing efforts to present information in a suitable
form, to disseminate it to the public and to provide opportunities for
exchanges of views was strongly endorsed. The Commission was asked to
pursue these matters in order to improve understanding of the actual
- IV and potential risks and the methods of protection in force in the
nucLear field. The Commission will certainly respond positively to
this request. ../..
As a small contribution to these efforts, the Commission has decided
to publish in the present volume the presentations given at the
meeting in the hope that by making them available to a much wider
audience they will serve towards a better mutual understanding.
Finally, on behalf of the Commission, I would like to express my
thanks to all those who assisted with the planning and preparation of
the meeting, to all those who presented papers, to the chairmen of the
various sessions and last, but certainly not least, to all those who
contributed to the discussions, an essential element of the successful
Chairman : Dr H. ERISKAT, Health and Safety Directorate
Commission of the European Communities
University of Dublin
Members : Dr I. Mc AULAY,
Trinity College
Mr J. LOCHARD Centre d'étude sur l'évaluation
de la protection dans le domaine nucléaire
Gesellschaft für Strahlen- und Umweltforschung Dr H.J. HAURY,
Federal Republic of Germany
Dr A. VANVOSSEL, Health and Safety Directorate
Commission of the European Communities