[ RadSafe ] Nuke plants hike cancer risk: report

Cary Renquist cary.renquist at ezag.com
Wed Jun 24 16:36:13 CDT 2009

Anybody know anything about Mark Lemstra?



Nuke plants hike cancer risk: report
By Jeremy Warren, The StarPhoenixJune 23, 2009Comments (5)

People who work in or live near a nuclear power plant face a higher risk
of cancer due to radiation exposure, says a research paper released

The 30-page Exposure to Radiation and Health Outcomes, commissioned by
the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses and the Canadian Centre for Policy
Alternatives, found nuclear power employees are more likely than the
general population to develop cancer or die from it.

Chronic exposure to low doses of radiation causes the higher risk, said
the report, written by researcher Mark Lemstra.

A 15-country, 12-year study of nuclear power workers found the employees
are twice as likely to die from all causes of cancer than the general
public because of the extra radiation exposure.

But in Canada, one of the 15 countries studied, reactor workers were
7.65 times more likely to die from all causes of cancer compared to
non-employees, said the report.

Researchers are unclear about the cause of the dramatic rise compared to
other countries, said Lemstra.

"We don't know why Canadians are more likely to get cancer than others,"
he said. "We are going to have to consider revising the protection
standards of nuclear workers."

A different Canada-only study still concluded nuclear power workers are
3.8 times more likely to die from radiation-related cancer than
non-workers, said the report.

"The results . . . confirm that chronic exposure to low doses of
radiation are associated with an excess relative risk of cancer
mortality," it said.

The report was presented to a Uranium Development Partnership
stakeholder meeting in Regina. UDP, a government appointed board, has
recommended Saskatchewan build a 3,000-megawatt nuclear reactor.

Lemstra cited 22 articles in his report, pared down from a review of
more than 1,700 articles he found in medical databases, reference lists
and on the Internet.

He also contacted 3,042 Saskatchewan nurses through e-mail to gather
their views on nuclear energy and health concerns.

Of the 822 replies, 61.8 per cent of nurses do not support the
development of a nuclear power facility while 9.49 per cent gave their
support. Almost 30 per cent conditionally support a reactor project if
health concerns are addressed.

Almost 90 per cent of respondents have concerns about the health
implications of a reactor. Ten per cent are not concerned.

The report found outside the nuclear workplace, radiation has effects on
the human population.

A German study cited in the report found children under the age of five
who live within five kilometres of a nuclear facility are 2.19 times
more likely to develop leukemia.

"There's a simple solution: Keep children more than 10 kilometres away
from a nuclear facility," said Lemstra.

Children are more susceptible to radiation because in the early stages
of development, their bodies are more sensitive to the effects of
inhalation, ingestion and other forms of internal exposure, said the

"The association between leukemia incidence and mortality from radiation
exposure is very strong. The greatest risks are found for youth under
the age of 20," said the report.

Health effects of nuclear power go beyond radiation. Consistent cost
overruns of constructing a nuclear reactor can siphon off government
money that could be spent elsewhere, the report says.

jjwarren at sp.canwest.com

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