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Safety of low dose radiation: letter in The Times, 7 October 2015

It’s clear from Chernobyl, which has turned into an unlikely wildlife refuge, that low doses of radiation do no harm

Sir, Your report (Oct 6) on how wildlife is thriving in the Chernobyl exclusion zone illustrates that we have an excessively cautious approach to the hazards of nuclear radiation. Not only is wildlife flourishing when not having to compete with humans for land, but older residents who refused to move out after the 1986 disaster are dying now of old age rather than from the effects of radiation.

The message is clear: low doses of radiation do no harm. Aberdonians suffer no ill-effect from the relatively high natural level of background radiation from the granite used to build their city. Similarly, residents would find a return to the Chernobyl exclusion zone or to Fukushima, abandoned after the damage to reactors caused by the 2011 tsunami, perfectly safe.

Maintaining an unnecessarily low limit for exposure to radiation, in the face of hard evidence, remains a major barrier to the expansion of the world’s cleanest, safest form of reliable and affordable energy.

Martin Livermore

Scientific Alliance, Cambridge