[ RadSafe ] Nuclear Regulatory Commission may study power plant health risks
jjc105 at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 22 11:14:45 CDT 2012
Sandy, You ask why the NRC is doing yet another "study" on the health impact
of nuclear power.I thihk the answer is obvious. Previous scientific study has
shown these effects are minimal to non-existant. Since every journalism major,
media expert, and "public interest" group knows that anything "nuclear" poses a
deadly threat, the NRC will keep looking until they get the right answer.
Note: Every time a study such as this is attempted the socio-economic issues,
genetics, individual's habits, are never taken into account. Why is this even
being considered after numerous previous studies!
Nuclear Regulatory Commission may study power plant health risks
Agency considers conducting a large-scale epidemiological study of whether
living near a nuclear power plant, such as San Onofre, raises health risks.
Doing so would pose major challenges.
* By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
August 18, 2012, 5:42 p.m.
The last time federal officials assessed
rates in the communities surrounding nuclear power plants, they concluded that
radiation releases were insignificant and health risks, if any, were too small
TheU.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissionhas been relying on the results of that
1990 National Cancer Institute study ever since to inform the public about
cancer risks posed by the 104 licensed reactors it governs nationwide.
Now, in response to growing concerns that using uranium in the production of
electrical energy may be dangerous even without accidents, the
is trying to decide if it should launch one of the largest epidemiological
studies ever conducted to determine if it is a health risk to live near a
nuclear facility — such as the San Onofre plant in north San Diego County.
"We can do a far better job of determining cancer risks with the
state-of-the-art analytical tools and databases available today," said John
Burris, chairman of the team of National Academy of Sciences experts
commissioned by the NRC to develop the proposal.
"The 1990 effort had lots of problems," Burris said. For example, it was based
data, which made it difficult to discern effects in the immediate vicinity of
nuclear facilities. It also looked at cancer mortality rather than incidents of
cancer, which are better indicators of risk because advances in cancer
treatments have lowered mortality rates.
Another motivation for wanting to revisit the issue is that recent
epidemiological studies in Germany and France found that children living near
certain nuclear reactors were twice as likely to develop
In the United States, about 1 million people live within five miles of operating
nuclear plants, and more than 45 million live within 30 miles, nuclear
regulatory officials said.
The five-member NRC is expected to vote later this year on a proposal to
investigate cancer rates in each census tract within a 30-mile radius of a
nuclear reactor and assess cancers in children younger than 15 years old by
reviewing their mothers' proximity to a nuclear facility during pregnancy. It
would also review cases of leukemia, a cancer associated with radiation exposure
Should the NRC decide to proceed, the National Academy of Sciences has
recommended starting with a pilot study to verify whether those approaches could
be conducted on so large a scale and help estimate the time and costs involved.
That pilot would focus on seven nuclear facilities representing a variety of
engineering designs and operating histories, including San Onofre, the only site
west of the Mississippi to be chosen.
San Onofre, which is majority owned and operated by Southern California
has been out of commission for more than six months because of potentially
dangerous equipment problems. The study area around it would encompass 2.4
million people in more than 50 cities, including Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach,
Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, Tustin, Lake Elsinore, Temecula, Oceanside, Escondido,
Solana Beach and all of Camp Pendleton.
In a prepared statement, Edison spokeswoman Jennifer Manfre said the utility
"looks forward to the study results."
Challenges to carrying out the study include that the availability and quality
of data on radiation released by nuclear facilities and on cancer mortality and
incidents of cancer vary from reactor to reactor and state to state. Another
problem would be population mobility, which could make it difficult to determine
exactly where an individual lived when contracting cancer.
In addition, the effects of low doses of radiation from nuclear facilities could
be masked by histories of smoking, drinking or working under potentially toxic
conditions, as well as exposure to other sources, such as CT scans and other
medical procedures, officials said.
Given the uncertainties, "It's a risky study because nobody will be completely
happy with the results, that's for sure," said Daniel O. Stram, associate
professor of preventive medicine, division of biostatistics, USC Keck School of
Medicine and Children's Cancer Group.
Many people living near San Onofre believe that's a risk worth taking.
"The implications of this study could be profound," said Roger Johnson, a
retired neuroscience professor and member of the nonprofit environmental group
San Clemente Green. "If it finds higher cancer risks at one or more nuclear
power plants, there will be enormous public pressure to shut down all of them."
Laguna Beach environmental activist Marion Pack, however, expressed mixed
feelings about the proposal. "An epidemiological study might answer some
questions about long-term effects, but it would take millions of dollars and
years to complete," she said. "I'd rather see that time and money spent on
dealing with immediate concerns such as the possibility of radiation exposure in
the event of an earthquake or an accident."
San Onofre has been out of service since Jan. 31, when operators discovered a
small leak in one of the thousands of steam generator tubes that carry hot,
radioactive water used to create steam to turn turbines that generate
electricity. The NRC has ordered Edison to keep the plant shut down until it has
determined the cause and how to fix it.
louis.sahagun at latimes.com<mailto:louis.sahagun at latimes.com>
Sander C. Perle
Dosimetry Services Division
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614
+1 (949) 296-2306 (Office)
+1 (949) 296-1130 (Fax)
Mirion Technologies: http://www.mirion.com/
”Protecting people, property and the environment”
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From: "Perle, Sandy" <sperle at mirion.com>
To: The International Radiation Protection Mailing List (Health Physics)
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Sent: Tue, August 21, 2012 2:26:21 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Nuclear Regulatory Commission may study power plant health
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