[ RadSafe ] Nuclear Regulatory Commission may study power plant health risks

Jerry Cohen 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.
Jerry Cohen
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 
to measure.

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 
on countywide 
 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 
of children.

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
Mirion Technologies
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) 
<radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Sent: Tue, August 21, 2012 2:26:21 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Nuclear Regulatory Commission may study power plant health 

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