• 16 JUN 09
    • 0

    #1074:Powerwatch on the draft Australian ELF standard

    From Alasdair Philips, Powerwatch (UK)

    They have increased the public max to 300 uT to allow for the latest UK HPA (NRPB) thinking and calculations and to cover public exposure in some trains and trams situations. Actually, I don’t think that is a big issue. The problem is for low-level chronic exposures and even if they had divided by 3 instead of x3 (i.e. to 33 uT) it would have made not practical difference at all. That is not where the problems lie, in my opinion.

    In many ways they are correct as regards “legal” maximum standards. What I believe that they fail to do is to give reasonable guidance to politicians about what levels of precaution are most suitable for society given the continuing level of uncertainty in the health data. That should then be used by utility regulators to set standards of best practice for the electricity companies to follow. So nothing really moves forward. The UK utilities mostly say they would be fine with a much more precautionary policy, but would need to be allowed to charge higher prices for electricity to pay for it. That is something that governments, regulators and most members of the general public don’t want to do until their child develops leukaemia (etc).

    I believe that there is currently a gem near the end, where it (may or may not) states: “Because of continuing uncertainty, this standard advocates the minimizing of unnecessary exposure and other precautionary approaches.” If this is the case, when it is released for consultation, we should ask them to define “minimizing” and “unnecessary”? Building new homes close to existing high voltage powerlines, as is allowed and done in the UK, is neither minimizing nor necessary.

    Very best wishes

    Alasdair

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