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NRC commissions study of cancer risk among populations near nuclear facilities

By Judy Benson

Publication: theday.com

Published September 23. 2013 4:00PM   Updated September 23. 2013 9:43PM

The National Academy of Sciences announced Monday that it has started planning for a pilot study of cancer risks around a nuclear fuel facility and six nuclear power plants, including the Millstone Power Station in Waterford and the decommissioned Haddam Neck plant in Haddam Neck.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission commissioned the study to determine whether to extend the study to other nuclear power plants and nuclear facilities.

Over the next few months, the NAS will conduct meetings about the pilot study, which will examine cancer risks at each of the seven nuclear sites using two epidemiological studies. The first study will focus on multiple types of cancer in populations of all ages living near these facilities. The second will be a study of cancers in children born near the sites.

In addition to Millstone and Haddam Neck, the other facilities are Dresden Nuclear Power Station, Morris, Ill.; Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, Forked River, N.J.; Big Rock Point Nuclear Power Station, Charlevoix, Mich.; and Son Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, San Clemente, Calif. The Big Rock station is decommissioned, and the San Onofre station is permanently shut down.

Also included in the pilot study will be Nuclear Fuel Services in Erwin, Tenn.

The sites were selected to represent a good sampling of different types of facilities with different operating histories, population sizes around them and availability of information from state cancer registries, the NRC said in a news release.

The study is intended to update and improve information on potential cancer risks around nuclear sites. The last such study was completed in 1990.

Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the NRC, said the $2 million pilot study is expected to take two to three years to complete. Once complete, the National Academy of Sciences will prepare a report on the findings of the pilot study that will be available to the public, he said.

For information on the upcoming meetings at the National Academy of Sciences, visit http://dels.nas.edu/global/nrsb/CancerRisk.

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