Eying Cancer Risk Near Nuclear Plants

The third in a series of five planned meetings this year to discuss a National Academy of Sciences assessment of cancer risks among people living near U.S. nuclear power plants will take place May 23-24 in Atlanta at the Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel, assuming a televangelist's prediction of worldwide earthquakes and the rapture two days earlier proves to be premature.

The 15-month scoping study to design the cancer risk assessment began in September 2010; the actual assessment has not yet begun. A July 20-21 meeting in Los Angeles is listed on the NAS Nuclear & Radiation Studies Board's site as the next event in the series.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission requested the assessment from the National Academy of Sciences to update the 1990 National Cancer Institute "Cancer in Populations Living Near Nuclear Facilities" report. NRC uses that report as a primary resource when talking with the public about cancer mortality risk in counties that contain or are adjacent to nuclear power facilities. For the new study, NRC asked the academy to evaluate cancer diagnosis rates, in addition to mortality risk, for populations living near decommissioned, operating, and proposed NRC-licensed nuclear facilities. "Phase 1 of the NAS study will determine whether a technically defensible approach to meet the goals of the study request is feasible —- and if so, the approach will be developed using scientifically sound processes for evaluating cancer risk that could be associated with nuclear facilities," according to NRC.

The May 23 agenda spans 12.5 hours, with time set aside for public comments in the late afternoon and evening; for those who cannot attend, the previous meetings are available as archived webcasts on the board's site.

Two Spanish experts are scheduled to deliver presentations, as are:

  • Steve Dearwent, an epidemiologist at CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
  • Steve Wing, associate professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • Bruce Napier, staff scientist, Environmental Sciences Group, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Kevin Ward, Georgia Center for Cancer Statistics, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University

For more information, contact Shauntee Whetstone at 202-334-3066 or [email protected]

Posted by Jerry Laws on May 20, 2011