Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Who is now in charge of radiation protection in the UK?

Letter submitted to The Guardian on 19 August 2020: Your scathing leader on the fatuity of scrapping Public Health England watchdog (“Scrapping PHE is not just wrong. It is also risky,” 19 August 2020; ) is not scathing enough. You mention that its replacement, the National Institute for Health Protection(NIHP) will focus on external threats, but omit to mention the vehicle listed by the department for health and social care briefing is to address these problems is to be a new Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards. But in Matt Hancock’s 2330 word speech ( on the future of public health on 18th August , when he unveiled the plans, he made no mention whatever of what body is henceforth is to be responsible for the public protection from radiation hazards arising within the UK, which PHE hitherto delivered, having inherited the responsibility from its predecessor, the Health Protection Agency 7 years ago, having itself incorporated the original responsibility for the National Radiological Protection Board.(NRPB) I find it extraordinary that there is apparently now no independent body to set standards of protection against dangerous ionising (and other) radiation hazards, when ministers seem equally determined to push ahead with a programme of new giant Giga-watt sized nuclear power plants, (such as Hinkley C, Sizewell C and Bradwell B) – at a cost of £75 billion- plus an unspecified number of so-called small modular reactors (SMRs) and advance nuclear technology (ANTs) power plants What are the views of joint nuclear regulators, the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency /Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, on this staggering omission in public health protection?

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