WASHINGTON—The Department of Energy, reacting to congressional pressure and criticism of its epidemiology program, has asked a new advisory panel for help. The move is aimed at defusing an increasingly volatile dispute between environment and health activists and the energy department over the health records of 600,000 DOE nuclear weapons plant workers (The Scientist, Aug. 7, 1989, page 1).

Meeting last month for the first time with his Secretarial Panel for the Evaluation of Epidemiological Research Activities, Energy Secretary James Watkins said he wanted advice on all management aspects of the epidemiology program, including “the utility and feasibility of transferring the epidemiologic research function, including the necessary data, to another agency. Congress is weighing two proposals to give another federal agency the responsibility for the research.

So far, the agency has allowed only DOE researchers to analyze health data that it has maintained on nuclear...

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