LETTER : Nuclear fears made real

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INCREDULITY best describes my reaction to Geoffrey Lean's article on radioactivity ("Killer that could not be put back in the test tube", 10 March). He points out the very real dangers of radon gas which has been recognised for many years as a health risk in parts of the US, where basements are more common in houses, increasing the risk of radon contamination. Why then does he find it necessary to criticise environmentalists for their concern over nuclear energy and power plants? Does the fact that we receive doses of radiation from natural sources preclude any concern we should have about further contamination from man-made sources? He even admits that there is "the ever present fear that a nuclear accident could release vast amounts of radiation". This fear, which Mr Lean seems to dismiss, has already become a reality, the consequences of which we are still paying for - ask anyone living around Chernobyl (but make sure you wear protective clothing). Ask the children whose bodies are perversely twisted. This is not scaremongering, this is fact.

Those concerned about radiation exposure can press for counter measures against radon in houses, for reducing exposure to medical X-rays and for an end to the unacceptably high risk of nuclear energy.

Hazel Craigie