THE Scottish Office tried to prevent a leading Government radiation adviser from saying anything about contentious plans to dump nuclear waste at Dounreay, according to an official memo from 1989.

Professor Martin Bobrow, the then chairman of the UK Government's advisory Committee on the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (Comare), was due to speak at a public meeting near the Caithness nuclear plant on June 6, 1989. He had been invited there by the local health board following reports by Comare on excess numbers of childhood cancers around nuclear sites.

But the Scottish Office was alarmed that he might intervene in arguments over whether or not to allow test drilling for nuclear waste disposal at Dounreay. "There is really very little that I think Professor Bobrow can say on this subject without the risk of being caught up and quoted out of context," said a memo from a Scottish Office official.

"I would therefore strongly recommend that he listen to what is said but himself volunteer as little as may be."