German nuclear station under suspicion

Scientist claims Krümmel power station responsible for alleged leukaemia hot spot

Krümmel nuclear power station in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein is once again in the media spotlight, following allegations that traces of plutonium in the local environment originated in the plant. Although not firmly proved, environmental groups have long believed that there is a leukaemia hot-spot around Krümmel, and that the nuclear station is to blame. An official commission set up to study leukaemia incidence in the area will give a final report in March 2000. According to a recent study by a scientist at Bremen university, the pattern of plutonium isotopes found at trace levels in a marsh close to Krümmel shows that the power station is the source. The report has caused widespread concern, with federal environment minister Jürgen Trittin referring to the suspicion surrounding the plant as "no trifle". However, the Schleswig-Holstein energy ministry has described the claims as "totally wrong" and maintains that plutonium in the local environment is due to nuclear weapons testing.

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