Cancer study around nuclear facilities to move forward via Beyond Nuclear

The US NRC has announced that a study examining cancers around NRC-licensed facilities will move forward through the National Academy of Sciences.
The Phase I report recognizes many of the shortcomings of prior health studies including the imperfection of relying on data from the atomic bomb exposures in Japan, and investigation of cancer deaths only rather than examining incidence.

In general, Beyond Nuclear supports the case-control study as outlined by the NAS phase one report but NOT the ecologic study if it contains dose estimates which rely on industry data or if it includes adults. In general, a case-control study of childhood cancer will be the most scientifically defensible and probably the least expensive, especially if assumed doses to children rely on place of birth rather than any dose derived from industry data. The Phase I report recognizes the daunting task of reconstructing doses for individuals (rather than whole groups of people) using industry effluent or monitoring data and the impossibility of doing this consistently.

Beyond Nuclear is concerned that, based on recent statements by nuclear proponents, the industry will force the study to start with the assumption that no health effects will be found. This assumption, is itself based on incomplete, inaccurate or inappropriate industry-generated data and exposure assumptions. This methodology creates a circular logic with and inescapable, and ultimately unsubstantiated, conclusion that radioactive effluent carries very little health risk, an assumption question in several health studies including ones from Germany and France. When, as in the case of these two studies in Europe, increased risk of disease is found, and the previous assumption was that the radiation exposure was too low to cause this risk, this increased risk is left with no explanation. In fact, the assumption that radiation wasn’t the cause should never have been made in the first place.

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