US regulator sponsors new cancer study

24 October 2012

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is sponsoring a new cancer study that will examine cancer risk in populations living near six US nuclear power plants and a nuclear fuel cycle facility.

The $2 million study to be performed by the National Academy of Sciences, will involve two types of epidemiological studies, NRC said. The first will examine multiple cancer types in populations living near the facilities; the second will be a case-control study of cancers in children born near the facilities.

The six reactor sites to be studied are Dresden in Illinois, Waterford in Connecticut, Oyster Creek in New Jersey and San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in California, as well as two decommissioned reactor sites Big Rock Point in Michigan and Haddam Neck in Connecticut. The pilot effort will also study Nuclear Fuel Services in Erwin, Tennessee. The sites were chosen because they “provide a good sampling of facilities with different operating histories, population sizes, and levels of complexity in data retrieval from the relevant state cancer registries,” NRC said.

NRC said that it would work with the Academy to being the pilot study process ‘in the next three months.’ The work is expected to continue at least into 2014.

The overall aim of the project is to provide a modern version of the 1990 U.S.

National Institutes of Health – National Cancer Institute (NCI) report, “Cancer in Populations Living Near Nuclear Facilities,” which NRC uses when communicating with the public about cancer mortality.

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