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Nuclear Submarines

Volume 173: debated on Thursday 24 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made in checking the health record of every sailor who has served in a British submarine since 1960; how many have been checked and when he anticipates the checks will be completed; whether from the initial checks any trend of cancer cases among nuclear submariners relative to the general population can be discerned; and if he will make a statement.

The Medical Research Council is currently conducting an epidemiological research programme into morbidity and mortality of submariners in the special environment in which they serve. Data are still being collected from the individual health records of submariners and I understand that this process will be completed by the end of this year. Analysis of the data will of course take some time after that and it would not be appropriate to speculate now on the study's possible conclusions.