Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

On January 15, an employee who has suffered long-term exposure to radiation whilst working around EDF nuclear reactors was informed that his cancer had been officially recognised as a professional sickness resulting from exposure to radiation.

Sante/Sous-Traitance - The employee of Endel/GDF/Suez, who has suffered long-term exposure to radiation whilst working around EDF nuclear reactors, has been struck down with cancer. With the support of the Sante/Sous Traitance organization and the Endel/GDF/Suez branch of the CGT Trade Union, the employee declared his case as one of work-related incapacity. Together they went through the long and painful inquiry process held by the local sickness benefit/health assurer in the Essonne region.

On January 15, 2010, the employee was informed in writing that his cancer had been officially recognized as conforming to MP (Professional sickness) Table No 6 (sickness resulting from exposure to radiation) and that his future health treatment will be assured by AT MP cover.

This is an incredibly important victory for all employees working for sub-contractors to the nuclear industry. It clearly shows how important the involvement of the CHSCTs (Hygiene, Safety and Working Conditions Committee, compulsory in all companies over a certain size) is in presenting the evidence for linking working at specific sites with the incidence and onset of cancer, either at the highest level of the command chain (EDF), or for one of the sub-contractors (in this case Endel/GDF/Suez). EDF alone is responsible for 80% of cases of exposure to carcinogens, mutagens, repro-toxins and “harmful” acids, in companies working as sub-contractors to EDF.

Nevertheless, certain rights exist to support employees. Depending on the conditions specified in each individual contract, employees of external companies have, like employees of the company itself, the right to a post-exposure and post-contract medical examination that has never been properly made available to them. The right to an expected suspension of work without loss of salary should also be available to all employees exposed to such risk.

Apart from anything else, it’s clear that the theoretical “safe limit” of radiation exposure (in the EU 50 millisieverts per year before 2003 and 20 per year since then) do not constitute any kind of protection from possible cancers. At today’s levels, it is allowed to receive more than 3 months worth of exposure in just a few minutes. There is desperate need for a statutory daily limit of exposure for employees.

The view of Sante/Sous-Traitance and the CGT Endel/GDF/Suez Trade Union is that doctors receiving cancer patients should look first of all for any role that work time exposure could have played in the onset. Sante/Sous-Traitance is ready and available to help all sub-contract employees working in the chemical and nuclear industries.

Source: Association Sante/Sous-Traitance (Health/Medical care), Press release

Contact: Philippe Billard, Sante/Sous-Traitance, 5-6 rue Henri Dunant, 76400 Fecamp, France, Email: