Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cancer, nuke site study begins; Trying to find risks of living nearby

From USA Today:

As the nation explores whether to invest more in nuclear energy, the National Academy of Sciences has begun a study of cancer risks faced by people living near nuclear facilities -- a study it admits is worrisome. A patchwork of state and local mortality reports, inconsistent data on illnesses and pollution combined with an American population that has moved around quite a bit in the past 50 years are just some of the challenges, said John Burris, chairman of the cancer-risk study committee. Proving scientifically whether long-term exposure to low doses of radiation around the nation's 104 nuclear facilities has meant a higher rate of cancer for those living nearby will be a daunting task, Burris said. "If you show living near a nuclear facility increases your chances of getting cancer, there will have to be radical changes, but that is not up to the committee," Burris said at a public meeting in Tennessee this month. The study, called for by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is planned to update a 1991 National Cancer Institute study that found no danger in living near nuclear plants. President Obama has called for $36 billion in federal loan guarantees for nuclear power plant construction.

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