Our previous comparison of risk of death from leukaemia associated with external radiation dose in over 75000 UK nuclear industry workers with that for adult Japanese atomic bomb survivors reported by UNSCEAR in 1988, suggested that the estimated excess relative risk per Sv in the two populations was similar (ratio of risks=1.1, 90% confidence interval +0.2 to +3.1). The further analysis described here, which compares leukaemia risk in the workers with that predicted by the linear term of the BEIR V model for leukaemia, resulted in a ratio of 1. 3(90% confidence interval -0.2 to +4.5). Leukaemia risk in this population of nuclear industry workers is therefore consistent with that predicted by the BEIR V model. That our data are also compatible with risks from zero to around five times those predicted by this model demonstrates that even a very substantial occupational cohort such as ours can provide only a limited amount of information about the magnitude of leukaemia risks in adults exposed to low doses of external radiation relative to those exposed to high doses and high dose rates.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Radiological Protection

Publication Date





191 - 195