By Janet Fang
Posting in Cancer
A 35-year study finds no link between childhood leukemia and living within 3 miles of a nuclear power station, saying the risk is "extremely small, if not actually zero."
The report – from the UK’s Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) – suggests that clusters of leukemia cases found near nuclear plants have non-radiation causes.
The report looks specifically at the incidence of this cancer in children under the age of 5 living within 5 km (3.1 mi) of any of 13 nuclear power plants in Great Britain. It found "no significant association,” according to COMARE chair, Alex Elliott.
Between 1969 and 2004, there were only 20 cases of leukemia in those children – compare that to roughly 500 UK children diagnosed with leukemia in any given year.
The added risk was "extremely small, if not actually zero," the report concludes.
In leukemia, Elliott notes, there are known to be correlations between the disease and socioeconomic status and population density, for example. COMARE attempted to compensate for these and other issues.
In 2008, a German study called Kinderkrebs in der Umgebung von Kernkraftwerken (KiKK, Childhood cancer in the vicinity of nuclear power plants) reported that living within 5 km of a nuclear power plant in Germany roughly doubled the risk of childhood leukemia.
But according to the COMARE report, KiKK didn’t fully assess confounding factors or perhaps those findings were influenced by one particular unexplained leukemia cluster in Krummel that lasted 15 years.
When asked if the COMARE findings had any implications for people living near Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant or near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986, Elliot stressed that the British studies had looked only at nuclear power plants during normal operation.
"You can't extrapolate (from these findings) to a catastrophic situation," he says.
Since September of last year, a US team has been updating a 1990 study on the link between nuclear power stations and cancer cases at the request of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
This report [pdf] was published last week.
Image: Sizewell B reactor dome in England via Wikimedia
May 9, 2011
Yeah, it might actually be good for your health! You don't believe me? Go near a nuclear plant and take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and see the difference! Don't pay attention to all those rumors, they are all nuke-haters! People that live near a nuclear plant, KNOW that nuclear radiation is gooood, but they want to keep it a secret! They want it all for themselves! Hey, if you're lucky you'll become a mutant and live 5000 years! Only downside is you'll be addicted to uranium. OR you'll be free from any pain and disease you have! Only downside is you won't feel anything at all!
...except fukushima didn't "blow up." There was ample warning and the residents were evacuated before any of them could get radiation poisoning. You do have to note that these incidents are extremely rare. I'd much rather live near a nuclear power plant than a coal or gas-fired one, personally.
Yeah no. The radiation around a nuclear power plant is negligible. Probably no more radiation around a nuclear plant than you'd get by just standing around, absorbing cosmic radiation.