Sunday, September 13, 2015

US NRC Stops Study of Cancer Risks near Reactors

Subtitle: $8 Million Is Too Costly to Study Nuclear-Caused Cancer

The NRC has cancelled an $8 million study that would have determined, then published, the statistics on greater-than-normal incidences of diseases among persons, especially children, living within close distances of nuclear power plants.   The technology and data is available for the study, but NRC chose not to allocate funding to the study.  Predictably, nuclear advocates cheered, and nuclear opponents are disappointed.  see link to the article.   
An earlier (1991) study of health effects near nuclear plants was fatally flawed by design, and its results are not surprising.   

Quoting the article: "Among the 1991 study’s many problems, according to scientists who were designing the new probe:

•"It tracked mortality rates based on where people died, rather than where they lived before getting cancer. That makes it hard to determine true lifetime exposure.

• "It tracked deaths, rather than total cancer cases. That may downplay the full health impact of living near a reactor, since many cancer patients survive.

• "It used countywide data to reach conclusions – a blunt instrument that may again downplay the impact on those living closest to a reactor. Residents in La Habra and San Clemente live in the same county – but few would argue that they had the same exposure to San Onofre.  (Note, San Clemente is only a few miles from SONGS, while La Habra is approximately 40 miles away.)

"To remedy all that, the NRC asked the NAS (National Academy of Science) to evaluate cancer diagnosis rates, not just cancer deaths; and to explore how to divide the areas around nuclear facilities into geographical units smaller than counties. The NAS made no bones about the effort being difficult and time-consuming, but said it could be done."   

This is certainly an area where citizen volunteers - qualified and motivated - should step forward to perform this study pro-bono.   However, it is a shame that the US government cannot find the $8 million to perform the initial study of 7 reactors.   In an era where government spending, and borrowing, is full of studies for irrelevant issues, this one is certainly deserving of funding.

See this link for a more detailed article on nuclear power and radiation health effects. 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
Copyright (c) 2015 by Roger Sowell, all rights reserved


GranDeb said...

Absolutely deserves funding. That's a really lame excuse. There is money to be had in this country!! And available personnel!!

Roger Sowell said...

Well-said, GranDeb, well-said.