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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
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1

Introduction

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) requested that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) provide an assessment of cancer risks in populations near USNRC-licensed nuclear facilities. This assessment is being carried out in two consecutive phases. The focus of the Phase 1 scoping study, which is the subject of this report, is to identify scientifically sound approaches for carrying out an assessment of cancer risks. The results of this Phase 1 study will be used to inform the design of the assessment, which will be carried out in Phase 2. The complete study task is shown in Sidebar 1.1.

The USNRC-licensed nuclear facilities referred to in the statement of task are nuclear power reactors and nuclear fuel-cycle facilities that utilize uranium for the production of electricity.1 These facilities are described in Sidebar 1.2. A large number of nuclear facilities have been constructed in the United States during the past six decades. Presently licensed USNRC facilities include:

  • 104 operating nuclear reactors (35 boiling water reactors and 69 pressurized water reactors) at 65 sites in 31 states (Table 1.1).
  • 13 fuel-cycle facilities in operation in 10 states. The operating facilities include four in situ uranium recovery facilities, one conventional uranium mill,2 one conversion facility, two uranium enrichment facilities, and five fuel fabrication facilities. There are

1 These are referred to as nuclear plants and fuel-cycle facilities in this report; the more ge neric term nuclear facilities is used to refer to nuclear plants and fuel-cycle facilities collectively.

2 Currently on standby (i.e., available for operations but not currently operating).

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
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SIDEBAR 1.1
Statement of Task

The National Academies will provide an assessment of cancer risks in populations living near U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission-licensed nuclear facilities. This assessment will be carried out in two consecutive phases:

A Phase 1 scoping study will identify scientifically sound approaches for carrying out the cancer epidemiology study that has been requested by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It will address the following tasks:

1. Methodological approaches for assessing off-site radiation dose, including consideration of:

• Pathways, receptors, and source terms

• Availability, completeness, and quality of information on gaseous and liquid radioactive releases and direct radiation exposure from nuclear facilities

• Approaches for overcoming potential methodological limitations arising from the variability in radioactive releases over time and other confounding factors

• Approaches for characterizing and communicating uncertainties.

2. Methodological approaches for assessing cancer epidemiology, including consideration of:

• Characteristics of the study populations (e.g., socioeconomic factors, all age groups, children only, and nuclear facility workers)

• Geographic areas to use in the study (e.g., county, zip codes, census tracts, or annular rings around the facility at some nominal distances)

• Cancer types and health outcomes of morbidity and mortality

• Availability, completeness, and quality of cancer incidence and mortality data

• Different epidemiological study designs and statistical assessment methods (e.g., ecologic or case-control study designs)

• Approaches for overcoming potential methodological limitations arising from low statistical power, random clustering, changes in population characteristics over time, and other confounding factors

• Approaches for characterizing and communicating uncertainties.

The results of this Phase 1 scoping study will be used to inform the design of the cancer risk assessment, which will be carried out in Phase 2.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

additional state-licensed3 conventional uranium milling facilities and in situ leaching facilities that are not shown on Table 1.2.4

Figures 1.1a and 1.1b show the locations of currently operating nuclear plants and USNRC-licensed fuel-cycle facilities in the United States. Applications for 24 additional nuclear reactors were under active review by the USNRC while the present study was in progress.5

1.1 BACKGROUND ON THE STUDY REQUEST

In the late 1980s, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) initiated an investigation of cancer risks in populations near 52 commercial nuclear power plants and 10 Department of Energy nuclear facilities (including research and nuclear weapons production facilities and one reprocessing plant) in the United States (Jablon et al., 1990). The investigation compared cancer mortality rates in “study” counties (i.e., counties that contained nuclear facilities) with rates in “control” counties (i.e., counties that were similar to the study counties in terms of population size, income, education, and other socioeconomic factors but did not contain nuclear facilities). The NCI investigation also compared cancer registration (i.e., cancer incidence) rates in study and control counties in two states: Connecticut and Iowa. No differences in cancer mortality or incidence rates were observed between study and control counties. The authors of the study concluded that “if nuclear facilities posed a risk to neighboring populations, the risk was too small to be detected by a survey such as this one” (Jablon et al., 1991).

The USNRC has been using the results of this NCI investigation as a primary resource for communicating with the public about cancer risks near the nuclear facilities that it regulates. However, this study is now over 20 years old. There have been substantial demographic shifts in populations around some of these facilities, and the facility inventory itself has changed; some facilities have shut down and new facilities have started up. Additionally, at least one facility that was not included in the NCI investigation (Nuclear Fuel Services in Tennessee) has become a focus of public interest.

The NCI investigation had several limitations: The investigation utilized county-level mortality and, when available, incidence data. The use

3 Section 274 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 authorizes the USNRC to enter into agree ments with state governors to discontinue the Commission’s regulatory authority for byproduct materials (radioisotopes), source materials (uranium and thorium), and certain quantities of special nuclear materials. States that have assumed regulatory authority for these materials are referred to as agreement states.

4 A listing of these facilities as of 2010 can be found at http://www.eia.gov/uranium/production/annual/.

5 See http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col/new-reactor-map.html.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

SIDEBAR 1.2
Nuclear Fuel Cycle

The nuclear fuel cycle comprises a set of industrial processes for producing electricity from uranium. These processes are carried out in nuclear fuel-cycle facilities, as illustrated in Figure S.1. Facilities comprising the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle are involved in the extraction of uranium from the environment and its fabrication into fuel for nuclear reactors. The uranium fuel is utilized in nuclear power reactors to produce electricity. Modern reactors typically generate on the order of 3000 megawatts of thermal power and produce about 1000 megawatts of electrical power. Facilities comprising the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle are involved in managing this fuel after it has been utilized in reactors; fuel management activities can involve recycling, storage, and/or disposal. The only civilian back-end facilities currently in operation in the United States are interim storage facilities for managing used fuel, most of which are located at commercial nuclear power plants. In the United States, almost all of these fuel storage facilities are co-located with nuclear plants.

The USNRC regulates five types of front-end fuel-cycle facilities:

Mining facilities: Facilities that are used to extract uranium from the environment. Currently, uranium is extracted using either conventional mining or leaching methods. The former method involves the physical removal of uranium-bearing ores from the subsurface in underground and open-pit mines. The latter method includes in situ leaching, in which solutions are pumped into the subsurface to extract uranium, and heap leaching, in which solutions are sprayed onto piles of mined rock to extract uranium. This study is concerned only with in situ leaching facilities. (The USNRC did not ask the NAS to examine conventional mining facilities because these facilities are not regulated by that agency.)

Milling facilities: Facilities that are used to process uranium ore or leach solutions to produce uranium oxide (U3O8) powder, or yellowcake. Mills can be standalone facilities, or they can be integrated into a uranium extraction operation. The former type of facility is used for conventional mining operations, where a single mill can service several mines, whereas the latter type of facility is used for in situ leaching operations.

Conversion facilities: Facilities that are used to convert yellowcake into a solid hexafluoride form (uranium hexafluoride, UF6). This compound sublimes to form a gas at about 56°C at standard atmospheric pressures. The gaseous form of this material is used in subsequent processing steps.

Enrichment facilities: Facilities that are used to increase the concentration of

of countywide data made it difficult to discern local effects around nuclear facilities, especially in geographically extensive counties. The investigation also focused primarily on cancer mortality, because good-quality cancer incidence data were largely unavailable at the time the study was conducted. (Incidence may be a better indicator of risk than mortality because advances in cancer treatments have lowered mortality rates for many types of cancer, including leukemia.)

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

uranium-235 in uranium hexafluoride. Almost all natural uranium contains about 99.3 percent uranium-238 and about 0.7 percent uranium-235 by mass. Enrichment increases the mass percentage of uranium-235, the fissile (i.e., the component of the nuclear fuel that can be induced to fission with thermal [low-energy] neutrons) component of nuclear fuel, to between about 4 and 5 percent. In the United States, uranium enrichment is currently being carried out in gaseous diffusion and centrifuge plants. New plants that use laser enrichment technologies are under construction.

Fuel fabrication facilities: Facilities that are used to convert enriched uranium hexafluoride into a uranium dioxide (U02) solid and fabricate it into nuclear fuel for civilian reactors.

Some of the fuel facilities being considered in this study have had or currently have dual civilian and defense missions. Prior to the USNRC assuming regulatory control, some of these facilities were previously regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy and its predecessor agencies.

image

FIGURE S.1 Schematic depiction of the nuclear fuel cycle. SOURCE: USNRC.

The NCI investigation also did not attempt to estimate radiation exposures resulting from the operation of nuclear facilities. However, NCI investigators noted that such exposures are likely to be “too small to result in detectable harm” (Jablon et al., 1991, p. 1407). Absent reliable information about radiation exposures, it is difficult to provide scientifically supportable explanations for any observed associations between a nuclear facility and cancer incidence or mortality.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

TABLE 1.1 Civilian Nuclear Power Plants in the United States

State Number of Active Reactors in State Name of Nuclear Power Plant (USNRC-abbreviated plant names) Reactor Unit Operating License Issue Date Shutdown Date
Alabama 5 Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant (Browns Ferry) 1 2 3 1973 1974 1976  
    Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant (Farley) 1 2 1977 1981  
Arizona 3 Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (Palo Verde) 1 2 3 1985 1986 1987  
Arkansas 2 Arkansas Nuclear One (Arkansas Nuclear) 1 2 1974 1978  
California 4 Diablo Canyon Power Plant (Diablo Canyon) 1 2 1984 1985  
    San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (San Onofre) 1 2 3 1967 1982 1982 1992
    Humboldt Bay Nuclear Power Plant (Humboldt Bay) 3 1963 1976
    Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station (Rancho Seco)   1974 1989
Colorado 1 Fort Saint Vrain Generating Station (Fort Saint Vrain)   1973 1989
Connecticut 2 Millstone Power Station (Millstone) 1 2 3 1970 1975 1986 1998
    Haddam Neck (Connecticut Yankee)   1968 1996
Florida 5 Crystal River Nuclear Generating Plant (Crystal River) 3 1976  
    St. Lucie Plant (St. Lucie) 1 2 1976 1986  
    Turkey Point Nuclear Plant (Turkey Point) 3 4 1972 1973  
Georgia 4 Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant (Edwin I. Hatch) 1 2 1974 1978  
    Vogtle Electric Generating Plant (Vogtle) 1 2 1987 1989  
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×
State Number of Active Reactors in State Name of Nuclear Power Plant (USNRC-abbreviated plant names) Reactor Unit Operating License Issue Date Shutdown Date
Illinois 11 Braidwood Station (Braidwood) 1 2 1987 1988  
    Byron Station (Byron) 1 2 1985 1987  
    Clinton Power Station (Clinton) 1 1987  
    Dresden Nuclear Power Station (Dresden) 1 2 3 1959 1969 1971 1978
    LaSalle County Station (LaSalle) 1 2 1982 1983  
    Quad Cities Nuclear Power Station (Quad Cities) 1 2 1972 1972  
    Zion Nuclear Power Station (Zion) 1 2 1973 1973 1997 1996
Iowa 1 Duane Arnold Energy Center (Duane Arnold)   1974  
Kansas 1 Wolf Creek Generating Station (Wolf Creek) 1 1985  
Louisiana 2 River Bend Station (River Bend) 1 1985  
    Waterford Steam Electric Station (Waterford) 3 1985  
Maine 0 Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Plant (Maine Yankee)   1972 1996
Maryland 2 Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant (Calvert Cliffs) 1 2 1974 1976  
Massachusetts 1 Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (Pilgrim)   1972  
    Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Station (Yankee-Rowe)   1961 1991
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×
State Number of Active Reactors in State Name of Nuclear Power Plant (USNRC-abbreviated plant names) Reactor Unit Operating License Issue Date Shutdown Date
Michigan 4 Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant (Cook) 1 2 1974 1977  
    Palisades Nuclear Plant (Palisades)   1971  
    Fermi 1 2 1966 1985 1992
    Big Rock Point Nuclear Plant (Big Rock Point)   1962 1997
Minnesota 3 Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant (Monticello) 1 1970  
    Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant (Prairie Island) 1 2 1974 1974  
Mississippi 1 Grand Gulf Nuclear Station (Grand Gulf) 1 1984  
Missouri 1 Callaway Plant (Callaway) 1 1984  
Nebraska 2 Cooper Nuclear Station (Cooper)   1974  
    Fort Calhoun Station (Fort Calhoun) 1 1973  
New Hampshire 1 Seabrook Station (Seabrook) 1 1990  
New Jersey 4 Hope Creek Generating Station (Hope Creek) 1 1986  
    Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station (Oyster Creek)   1969  
    Salem Nuclear Generating Station (Salem) 1 2 1976 1981  
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×
State Number of Active Reactors in State Name of Nuclear Power Plant (USNRC-abbreviated plant names) Reactor Unit Operating License Issue Date Shutdown Date
New York 6 James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant (FitzPatrick)   1974  
    R. E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant (Ginna)   1969  
    Indian Point Nuclear Generating (Indian Point) 1 2 3 1962 1973 1975 1974
    Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station (Nine Mile Point) 1 2 1969 1987  
    Shoreham Nuclear Power Station (Shoreham)   1989 1992
North Carolina 5 Brunswick Steam Electric Plant (Brunswick) 1 2 1976 1974  
    McGuire Nuclear Station (McGuire) 1 2 1981 1983  
    Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant (Harris) 1 1986  
Ohio 2 Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station (Davis-Besse) 1 1977  
    Perry Nuclear Power Plant (Perry) 1 1986  
Oregon 0 Trojan Nuclear Power Plant (Trojan) 1 1976 1992
Pennsylvania 9 Beaver Valley Power Station (Beaver Valley) 1 2 1976 1987  
    Limerick Generating Station (Limerick) 1 2 1985 1989  
    Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station (Peach Bottom) 1 2 3 1967 1973 1974 1974
    Susquehanna Steam Electric Station (Susquehanna) 1 2 1982 1984  
    Three Mile Island Nuclear Station (Three Mile Island) 1 2 1974 1978 1979
    Shippingport Atomic Power Station   1957 1982
    Saxton   1962 1972
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×
State Number of Active Reactors in State Name of Nuclear Power Plant (USNRC-abbreviated plant names) Reactor Unit Operating License Issue Date Shutdown Date
South Carolina 7 Carolinas-Virginia Tube Reactor   1963 1967
    Oconee Nuclear Station (Oconee) 1 2 3 1973 1973 1974  
    H.B. Robinson Steam Electric Plant (Robinson) 2 1970  
    Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station (Summer) 1 1982  
    Catawba Nuclear Station (Catawba) 1 2 1985 1986  
South Dakota 0 Pathfnder Atomic Plant (Pathfnder)   1964 1967
Tennessee 3 Sequoyah Nuclear Plant (Sequoyah) 1 2 1980 1981  
    Watts Bar Nuclear Plant (Watts Bar) 1 1996  
Texas 4 Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant (Comanche Peak) 1 2 1990 1993  
    South Texas Project 1 2 1988 1989  
Vermont 1 Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station (Vermont Yankee)   1972  
Virginia 4 North Anna Power Station (North Anna) 1 2 1978 1980  
    Surry Power Station (Surry) 1 2 1972 1973  
Washington 1 Columbia Generating Station (Columbia)   1984  
Wisconsin 3 Kewaunee Power Station (Kewaunee)   1973  
    Point Beach Nuclear Plant (Point Beach) 1 2 1970 1973  
    La Crosse Nuclear Generating Station (La Crosse)   1969 1987
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

TABLE 1.2 USNRC-Licensed Facilities that Are Part of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Site Name, Location Licensee Operational Status
In situ Recovery Facilitiesa    
Crow Butte, NE Crow Butte Resources, Inc. Active
Crownpoint, NM Hydro Resources, Inc. Not yet constructed
Moore Ranch, WY Uranium One Active
Smith Ranch and Highlands, WY Power Resources, Inc. Active
Willow Creek, WY Uranium One Active
Conventional Uranium Mill Recovery Facilitiesa  
Ambrosia Lake, NM Rio Algom Mining, LLC Decommissioning
Church Rock, NM United Nuclear Corp. Decommissioning
Homestake, NM Homestake Mining Co. Decommissioning
Bear Creek, WY Bear Creek Uranium Co. Decommissioning
Gas Hills, WY American Nuclear Corp. Decommissioning
Gas Hills, WY Umetco Minerals Corp. Decommissioning
Highlands, WY Exxon Mobil Corp. Decommissioning
Lucky Mc, WY Pathfnder Mines Corp. Decommissioning
Shirley Basin, WY Pathfnder Mines Corp. Decommissioning
Split Rock, WY Western Nuclear, Inc. Decommissioning
Sweetwater, WY Kennecott Uranium Corp. Stand-by
Uranium Hexafuoride Conversion Facility Metropolis, IL Honeywell International, Inc. Active
Uranium Fuel Fabrication Facilities Wilmington, NC Global Nuclear Fuels-Americas, LLC Active
Columbia, SC Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC Columbia Fuel Fabrication Fac. Active
Erwin, TN Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. Active
Lynchburg, VA AREVA NP, Inc. Mt. Athos Road Inactive
Lynchburg, VA B&W Nuclear Operations Group Active
Richland, WA AREVA NP , Inc. Active
Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility Aiken, SC Shaw AREVA MOX Services, LLC Under construction
Gaseous Diffusion Uranium Enrichment Facilities  
Paducah, KY USEC Inc. Active
Piketon, OH USEC Inc. In cold shutdown
Gas Centrifuge Uranium Enrichment Facilities  
Piketon, OH USEC Inc. In construction
Eunice, NM Louisiana Energy Services Active
Idaho Falls, ID AREVA Enrichment Services Under review
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
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Laser Separation Enrichment Facility    
Wilmington, NC GE-Hitachi Under review
Uranium Hexafuoride Deconversion Facility  
Hobbes, NM International Isotopes Under review

aThere are additional in situ recovery facilities and conventional uranium mill recovery facilities that are licensed by USNRC agreement states. See the text for details.
SOURCE: USNRC (2011).

The USNRC initially contracted with the Center for Epidemiologic Research at Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) to assess the feasibility of updating the 1990 NCI investigation. Two methodological approaches were outlined by ORAU: The first was the methodology used in the original 1990 NCI investigation, which utilized county-level data. The second involved an analysis of cancer mortality within 3, 10, 30, and 50 miles from nuclear facilities using more advanced spatial analysis techniques. The ORAU investigators concluded that both approaches were feasible (ORISE, 2009a).

ORAU also studied the feasibility of utilizing cancer incidence data collected either at the county level or by spatial analysis using census tracts or residential addresses. ORAU investigators concluded that there was sufficient cancer incidence data available in electronic form that could be used to update the NCI investigation (ORISE, 2009b).

Subsequently, the USNRC requested that the NAS undertake a de novo assessment of methodologies for carrying out an assessment of cancer risks that could go well beyond an update of the 1990 NCI study. That request resulted in the present study.

The NAS was asked to develop a design for a cancer epidemiologic study to assess potential cancer risks associated with living near USNRC-licensed nuclear facilities (see Sidebar 1.1). A decision about whether to carry out the Phase 2 epidemiologic study is the responsibility of the USNRC. In making this decision, the USNRC will consider a number of factors, some of which are outside the charge for this Phase 1 study. Factors may include scientific merit; the priority of addressing public concerns about cancer risks near USNRC-licensed nuclear facilities versus other agency priorities; and cost.

Epidemiologic studies may have a limited ability to discern associations between radiation exposure and cancer risk at low doses, even when large populations are examined. Additionally, epidemiologic studies of populations exposed to low radiation doses are likely to produce “false positive” associations (i.e., associations that occur purely by chance) if multiple comparisons are made (e.g., for multiple cancer types) as well as “false negative” associations (i.e., associations not established because statistical power is low) because effect size is small. There is little way of knowing whether any such associations (or lack of associations) are anything more than statistical effects.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

image

Index Nuclear Power Plant, State
1 Browns Ferry, Alabama
2 Farley, Alabama
3 Palo Verde, Arizona
4 Arkansas Nuclear, Arkansas
5 Diablo Canyon, California
6 San Onofre, California
7 Millstone, Connecticut
8 Crystal River, Florida
9 St. Lucie, Florida
10 Turkey Point, Florida
11 Edwin I. Hatch, Georgia
12 Vogtle, Georgia
13 Braidwood, Illinois
14 Byron, Illinois
15 Clinton, Illinois
16 Dresden, Illinois
17 LaSalle, Illinois
18 Quad Cities, Illinois
19 Duane Arnold, Iowa
20 Wolf Creek, Kansas
21 River Bend, Louisiana
22 Waterford, Louisiana
23 Calvert Cliffs, Maryland
24 Pilgrim, Massachusetts
25 Cook, Michigan
26 Palisades, Michigan
27 Fermi, Michigan
28 Monticello, Minnesota
29 Prairie Island, Minnesota
30 Grand Gulf, Mississippi
31 Callaway, Missouri
32 Cooper, Nebraska
33 Fort Calhoun, Nebraska
34 Seabrook, New Hampshire
35 Hope Creek, New Jersey
36 Oyster Creek, New Jersey
37 Salem, New Jersey
38 Fitzpatrick, New York
39 Ginna, New York
40 Indian Point, New York
41 Nine Mile Point, New York
42 Brunswick, North Carolina
43 McGuire, North Carolina
44 Harris, North Carolina
45 Davis-Besse, Ohio
46 Perry, Ohio
47 Beaver Valley, Pennsylvania
48 Limerick, Pennsylvania
49 Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania
50 Susquehanna, Pennsylvania
51 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania
52 Oconee, South Carolina
53 Robinson, South Carolina
54 Summer, South Carolina
55 Catawba, South Carolina
56 Sequoyah, Tennessee
57 Watts Bar, Tennessee
58 Comanche Peak, Texas
59 South Texas Project, Texas
60 Vermont Yankee, Vermont
61 North Anna, Virginia
62 Surry, Virginia
63 Columbia, Washington
64 Kewaunee, Wisconsin
65 Point Beach, Wisconsin

FIGURE 1.1a Currently operating nuclear power plants in the United States.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

image

Index Licensee, State
1 Crow Butte Resources, Inc., Nebraska
2 Uranium One, Wyoming
3 Power Resources, Inc, Wyoming
4 Uranium One, Wyoming
5 Kennecott Uranium Corp.,a Wyoming
6 Honeywell International, Inc, Illinois
7 Global Nuclear Fuels-Americas, LLC, North Carolina
8 Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC Columbia Fuel Fabrication Fac., South Carolina
9 Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc., Tennessee
10 B&W Nuclear Operations Group, Virginia
11 AREVA NP, Inc., Washington
12 USEC Inc., Kentucky
13 Louisiana Energy Services, New Mexico

aStandby

FIGURE 1.1b Currently operating USNRC-licensed nuclear fuel-cycle facilities in the United States.

On the other hand, epidemiologic studies provide the most direct evidence for associations between suspected risk factors (e.g., radiation) and disease (e.g., cancer). Perhaps for this reason, epidemiologic studies continue to be used to assess cancer risks in populations near nuclear facilities in other countries (see Section 1.2 in this chapter and Appendix A). A well-designed

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

epidemiologic study can be used to formulate or test hypotheses about cancer risks in populations around nuclear facilities.

The committee received two somewhat conflicting messages from presenters at its information-gathering meetings (see Section 1.4 in this chapter) and peer reviewers for this report: (1) A Phase 2 epidemiologic study should be carried out; (2) the study will be a “political” rather than a “scientific” exercise. The committee has endeavored to recommend a technically sound approach for carrying out an epidemiologic study while at the same time clearly identifying the challenges for assessing cancer risks at low doses. The committee hopes that the USNRC will be able to use this information to help make an informed decision about whether to undertake a new epidemiologic study and what type of study to conduct.

1.2 PREVIOUS STUDIES OF CANCER RISKS

Concerns about the potential health impacts from living near nuclear facilities are not new or unique to the United States. A British television program in 1983 reported a cluster of childhood leukemia in Seascale, a village located on the coast of the Irish Sea about 3 kilometers from the nuclear fuel reprocessing facility at Sellafield. The television program reported on seven childhood leukemia cases in the village over the previous 30 years, whereas fewer than one case was expected (Urquhart et al., 1984). Given the proximity of the village to Sellafield, and the absence of other obvious causative agents, radioactive discharges from the reprocessing plant were hypothesized to be responsible for the excess leukemia.

The British government appointed an independent advisory group to investigate these claims. The group (Black, 1984) confirmed the leukemia cluster but could not link it to radioactive discharges. A governmental Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) was subsequently established in 1985 to undertake further investigations. To date, this committee has published 14 reports using data from the national registry of children’s tumors (see Appendix A for literature review).

Since 1985, epidemiologic studies of cancer risks in populations near nuclear facilities have been carried out in at least 11 countries.6 The majority of these studies investigated rates of cancer deaths or cancer occurrence in populations living in various-size geographic areas including counties and municipalities, zones of increasing distance, or zones based on models of dispersion of releases from the nuclear facilities (see Table 4.2, Chapter 4). These studies have come to different conclusions, with some suggesting a positive association between living in proximity to a nuclear facility

6 Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

and cancer risk. However, studies have been unable to attribute positive associations to radioactive releases from the facilities.

A widely publicized study with a positive finding is the German Kinderkrebs in der Umgebung von Kernkraftwerken (KiKK) study, which was carried out by researchers from the German Childhood Cancer Registry in Mainz on behalf of the Federal Office of Radiation Protection. Study results were published in 2008 (Kaatsch et al., 2008; Spix et al., 2008). They indicated that for a child of age 0-5 years, the risk of developing leukemia doubles if that child lives in close vicinity of a nuclear plant. However, the methodology, presentation, and interpretation of results from the study have been strongly criticized by others (COMARE, 2011; Kinlen, 2011). Additional information about these studies is provided in Appendix A.

Results from two other epidemiologic studies were published during this Phase 1 study: the 14th report of COMARE, which provided further consideration of the incidence of childhood leukemia around nuclear plants in Great Britain (COMARE, 2011), and a study on the risk of childhood leukemia and all childhood cancers in the vicinity of Swiss nuclear plants (Spycher et al., 2011). Neither provided significant evidence of a positive association between distance from nuclear plants and cancer risk.

A third report from France showed that children living within 5 kilometers of nuclear plants are twice as likely to develop leukemia compared to those living 20 kilometers or farther away from the plants. However, analysis of the same population of children using a dose-based geographic zoning approach, instead of distance, did not support the findings. The authors suggest that the absence of any association with the dose-based geographic zoning approach may indicate that the observed association of distance and cancer risk may be due to some unidentified factors other than the releases from the nuclear power plants (Sermage-Faure et al., 2012). Current joint efforts from France and Germany are focusing on developing studies that would improve understanding of the positive associations between childhood leukemia and distance from nuclear power plants by improving current knowledge on the etiology of the disease.

Epidemiologic studies of cancer risks in populations near nuclear facilities have used a number of approaches to assess exposures of study populations to radiation from facility releases (see Section 4.2.1 in Chapter 4). In most cases, exposures are based on surrogate measures (e.g., distance from a facility) that are not related to quantifiable radiation doses. However, some recent studies have attempted to obtain dose estimates based on facility effluent releases. Evrard et al. (2006) grouped communes within 40 kilometers of nuclear plants in France into five categories based on estimated doses based on airborne radioactive effluent discharges (see Chapter 2) and local climate data. The Nuclear Safety Council and the Carlos III

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

Institute of Health (2009) estimated effective doses in populations living in municipalities at various distances from nuclear facilities in Spain.

More detailed dose reconstructions have been carried out for other applications. These include reconstruction of doses for World War II atomic bombing survivors in Japan; U.S. military personnel exposed to radiation from atmospheric nuclear-weapons testing; U.S. Department of Energy workers who were exposed to occupational radiation at nuclear weapons production and testing facilities and residents in nearby states who were exposed to radiation that was released from these facilities; and individuals who responded to the 1986 Chernobyl accident. These dose reconstruction efforts are described in a number of reports; see, for example, NCRP (2009) and NAS (1995).

1.3 STRATEGY TO ADDRESS THE STUDY CHARGE

This study was carried out by a committee of experts appointed by the NAS. The committee consists of 20 members with expertise that spans the disciplines relevant to the study task: biostatistics, contaminant fate and transport, environmental exposure monitoring, epidemiology, medicine, public health, radiation dosimetry, radiobiology, social science and risk communication, and toxicology. In selecting the committee, the NAS sought to obtain a balance between experts in the design and execution of risk assessment studies for low-dose radiation exposures and experts with relevant disciplinary expertise but no direct experience with low-dose radiation risk assessment. Biographical sketches of the committee members are provided in Appendix B.

The committee was tasked to recommend appropriate study design(s) to assess cancer risks associated with living near nuclear facilities. The selection of suitable study designs primarily involved judgments about scientific soundness, data availability and accessibility, and level of effort versus likely scientific return. The committee’s judgments were also informed by information that it received from technical experts (see Appendix C) and comments from the public (see Chapter 5). The committee attempted to identify study approaches that were scientifically sound and that addressed public concerns.

The focus for this study is on cancer risks arising from exposures to radiation from nuclear plants and fuel-cycle facilities past and present in the course of their ordinary day-to-day operations. The study is not focused on risks arising from nuclear accidents (e.g., Chernobyl or, more recently, Fukushima). Nevertheless, the committee recognizes that public perceptions about the risks related to nuclear plants and fuel-cycle facilities may be shaped by these events.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

One of the scientific challenges for carrying out assessments of cancer risks in populations near nuclear facilities is the lack of sufficient statistical power7 to detect relatively small associations between cancer incidence or mortality and exposures to radiation from facility releases. This is primarily the result of the small radiation doses that are typically received by individuals living near nuclear facilities as a result of normal operations at those facilities (see Chapter 3). As a consequence, epidemiologic assessments of cancer risk require the study of very large populations to have any hope of having adequate statistical power to detect positive associations between cancer and radiation exposure. Modest improvements in the statistical power can be achieved by examining dose-response gradients, especially when the population under study is exposed to a range of doses.

Tables 1.3 and 1.4 show the populations living within 5 and 30 miles of currently operating nuclear facilities in the United States as determined in the 2010 census.8 As can be seen in this table, there was a wide variation in the numbers of persons living near nuclear facilities in 2010:

  • Approximately 1 million people lived within 5 miles of operating nuclear plants in 2010; over 45 million people lived within 30 miles.
  • Approximately 116,000 people lived within 5 miles of USNRC-licensed operating fuel-cycle facilities in 2010; over 2 million people lived within 30 miles.
  • Approximately 210 people lived within 5 miles of a USNRC-licensed operating in situ recovery or conventional uranium mill recovery facility in 2010; about 11,000 lived within 30 miles.9

The committee decided to focus most of its efforts in this Phase 1 study on nuclear plants because of their large associated populations. The committee decided not to consider mining and milling facilities in this Phase 1 study because of their low associated populations. The committee recognizes that people who live near these mining and milling facilities may be just as concerned about cancer risks as people who live near nuclear plants. However, epidemiologic studies of cancer risk would have no statistical

7 That is, the ability of a statistical test to detect a predetermined difference in risk (e.g., a doubling in cancer mortality associated with radiation exposure) if it exists. In this context, statistical power depends on the risk in the control population, the smallest increase in risk the investigator wants to be reasonably sure of finding (if it is present), and the acceptable probabilities of a false positive result (if there is no increase) and a false negative result (if there is an increase of at least the size to be sought).

8 The 2010 census data are used here simply to illustrate population differences for various facilities. The 2010 data do not reflect the population distribution around sites in prior years.

9 Note: These are median estimates for individual in situ recovery or conventional uranium mill recovery facilities, not total populations for all facilities.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

TABLE 1.3 Populations in the 5- and 30-Mile (Approximately 8- and 50-Kilometer) Zones around Currently Operating Nuclear Power Plants Based on the 2010 U.S. Census Data


Index State Name 5 Mile 30 Mile

1 Alabama Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant 6,098 530,011
2 Joseph M Farley Nuclear Plant 2,534 186,768
3 Arizona Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station 1,117 273,806
4 Arkansas Arkansas Nuclear One 14,177 137,107
5 California Diablo Canyon Power Plant 1,648 338,602
6 San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station 23,525 2,410,113
7 Connecticut Millstone Power Station 53,321 667,492
8 Florida Crystal River Nuclear Generating Plant 6,142 271,625
9 St. Lucie Plant 34,017 584,465
10 Turkey Point 7,963 1,838,689
11 Georgia Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant 2,063 135,568
12 Vogtle Electric Generating Plant 1,941 398,181
13 Illinois Braidwood Station 16,834 971,587
14 Byron Station 12,339 600,581
15 Clinton Power Station 1,643 419,698
16 Dresden Nuclear Power Station 22,872 1,815,892
17 LaSalle County Station 3,211 345,966
18 Quad Cities Nuclear Power Station 6,252 451,281
19 Iowa Duane Arnold Arnold Energy Center 12,180 351,236
20 Kansas Wolf Creek Generating Station 1,690 75,810
21 Louisiana River Bend Station 5,647 536,645
22 Waterford Steam Electric Station 13,774 1,119,079
23 Maryland Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant 18,438 443,962
24 Massachusetts Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station 23,108 1,245,016
25 Michigan Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant 16,977 563,815
26 Palisades Nuclear Plant 7,693 288,716
27 Fermi 18,035 2,230,762
28 Minnesota Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant 21,107 964,863
29 Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant 6,650 789,039
30 Mississippi Grand Gulf Nuclear Station 1,657 87,677
31 Missouri Callaway Plant 1,620 225,301
32 Nebraska Cooper Nuclear Station 892 54,338
33 Fort Calhoun Station 9,305 829,567
34 New Hampshire Seabrook Station 47,004 1,667,009
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×
35 New Jersey Hope Creek Generating Station 5,681 1,512,768
36 Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station 44,156 1,010,661
37 Salem Nuclear Generating Station 5,434 1,490,771
38 New York James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant 10,838 615,046
39 R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant 14,788 894,227
40 Indian Point Nuclear Generating 88,189 5,695,758
41 Nine Mile Point 6,729 307,622
42 North Carolina Brunswick Steam Electric Plant 13,398 315,360
43 McGuire Nuclear Station 51,561 2,014,369
44 Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant 29,445 1,567,691
45 Ohio Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant 3,390 733,031
46 Perry Nuclear Power Plant 24,164 810,777
47 Pennsylvania Beaver Valley Power Station 16,181 1,656,510
48 Limerick Generating Station 97,649 4,453,399
49 Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station 11,326 1,787,122
50 Susquehanna Steam Electric Station 15,462 664,767
51 Three Mile Island Nuclear Station 48,714 1,520,777
52 South Carolina Oconee Nuclear Station 15,616 634,339
53 H.B. Robinson Steam Electric Plant 11,927 292,920
54 Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station 2,940 663,629
55 Catawba Nuclear Station 50,337 1,768,246
56 Tennessee Sequoyah Nuclear Plant 29,485 714,473
57 Watts Bar Nuclear Plant 5,152 362,142
58 Texas Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant 6,842 285,159
59 South Texas Project 1,691 66,066
60 Vermont Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station 12,737 345,863
61 Virginia North Anna Power Station 6,903 507,945
62 Surry Power Station 13,081 984,927
63 Washington Columbia Generating Station 407 282,505
64 Kewaunee Power Station 2,974 324,911
65 Wisconsin Point Beach Nuclear Plant 3,297 304,151
Total: 934,488 45,020,247

NOTE: Plants in close geographic proximity may have overlapping population could be included (i.e., counted) in more than one plant population. the bottom of the table corrects for multiple counting is only counted once). As a consequence, the sum of plants does not equal the population total at the bottom of the table corrects for multiple counting (i.e., each person living near a plant is only counted once). As a consequence, the sum of the populations for the individual plants does not equal the population total at the bottom of the table.
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

TABLE 1.4 Populations in the 5- and 30-Mile (Approximately 8- and 50-Kilometer) Zones around Currently Operating USNRC-Licensed Facilities that Are Part of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Based on the 2010 U.S. Census Data


Index State Licensee Type 5 mile 30 mile

1 Nebraska Crow Butte Resources, Inc Mining 196 10,796
2 Wyoming Uranium One Mining 237 5,986
3 Power Resources, Inc Mining 72 14,378
4 Uranium One Mining 123 5,340
5 Wyoming Kennecott Uranium Corp.a Milling 21 1,438
6 Illinois Honeywell International, Inc Conversion 11,334 184,442
7 North Carolina Global Nuclear Fuels-Americas, LLC Fuel Fabrication 35,854 349,780
8 South Carolina Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC Columbia Fuel Fabrication Fac. Fuel Fabrication 14,512 796,391
9 Tennessee Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. Fuel Fabrication 12,765 432,825
10 Virginia B&W Nuclear Operations Group Fuel Fabrication 21,810 280,396
11 Washington AREVA NP, Inc. Fuel Fabrication 33,253 276,038
12 Kentucky USEC Inc. Enrichment 7,370 190,772
13 New Mexico Louisiana Energy Services Enrichment 934 48,631
Total: 116,282 2,308,747

NOTE: Facilities in close geographic proximity may have overlapping populations, so persons living near those facilities could be included (i.e., counted) in more than one facility population. The population total shown at the bottom of the table corrects for multiple counting (i.e., each person living near a facility is only counted once). As a consequence, the sum of the populations for the individual facilities does not equal the population total at the bottom of the table.
aStandby
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

power to detect associations between radiation and cancer because of these small populations.

With respect to the other types of fuel-cycle facilities, the committee focused most of its efforts on one facility, Nuclear Fuel Services in Erwin, Tennessee, primarily because of the public interest in cancer risks resulting from radioactive releases from that facility. The methodology proposed by the committee for assessing cancer risk at this facility is applicable to other fuel-cycle facilities as well.

1.4 INFORMATION GATHERING AND REPORT ORGANIZATION

The committee held five information-gathering meetings to receive briefings from subject-matter experts, including experts in the fields of epidemiology, dosimetry, and social science; representatives of the USNRC and the nuclear industry; representatives of cancer registries; and interested members of the public. Small groups of committee members visited the Dresden Nuclear Power Station (Illinois) in April 2011, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (California) in July 2011, and the Nuclear Fuel Services facility (Tennessee) in October 2011 to learn about the design and operation of these facilities’ radioactive effluent release and environmental monitoring programs. A list of committee meeting briefings is provided in Appendix C.

The committee’s information-gathering sessions were webcast in an effort to enhance public awareness and participation in the study. Copies of these webcasts are available at http://www.nationalacademies.org/ cancerriskstudy.

The committee received a large number of oral and written comments from nongovernmental organizations and other members of the public. These were helpful for informing the committee about public concerns related to the study and for uncovering data sources and documents that were useful to the committee.

This report is organized into five chapters that address the statement of task (Sidebar 1.1) in its entirety:

  • Chapter 1 (this chapter) provides background on the study.
  • Chapter 2 describes the effluent releases from nuclear facilities.
  • Chapter 3 describes methods to estimate radiation exposure and dose from radioactive effluent releases and other sources.
  • Chapter 4 describes epidemiologic study designs that could be used to investigate whether populations near nuclear facilities are at an increased risk of developing cancer.
  • Chapter 5 describes the public engagement process used in this Phase 1 study and suggests how it can be extended for Phase 2.
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 2012. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13388.
×

Definitions of terms and acronyms are provided in Appendixes N and O, respectively.

REFERENCES

Black, D. (1984). Investigation of the possible increased incidences of cancer in West Cumbria. London: Her Majesty’s Stationary office.

COMARE (Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment) (2011). Four-theenth report: Further consideration of the incidence of childhood leukemia around nuclear power plants in Great Britain, Health Protection Agency, may 2011.

Evrard, A. S., D. Hemon, et al. (2006). Childhood leukaemia incidence around French nuclear installations using geographic zoning based on gaseous discharge dose estimates. Br J Cancer 94(9):1342-1347.

Jablon, S., Z. Hrubec, J. D. Boice, Jr., and B. J. Stone (1990). Cancer in populations living near nuclear facilities, Volumes 1-3, NIH Publication No. 90-874.

Jablon, S., Z. Hrubec, et al. (1991). Cancer in populations living near nuclear facilities. A survey of mortality nationwide and incidence in two states. JAMA 265(11):1403-1408.

Kaatsch, P., C. Spix, et al. (2008). Leukaemia in young children living in the vicinity of German nuclear power plants. Int J Cancer 122(4):721-726.

Kinlen, L. (2011). A German storm affecting Britain: Childhood leukaemia and nuclear power plants. J Radiol Prot 31(3):279-284.

NAS (National Academy of Sciences) (1995). Radiation dose reconstruction for epidemiologic uses. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

NCRP (National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements) (2009). Ionizing radiation exposure of the populations of the United States. Report 160.

Nuclear Safety Council and the Carlos III Institute of Health (2009). Epidemiological study of the possible effect of ionizing radiations deriving from the operation of Spanish nuclear fuel cycle facilities on the health of the population living in their vicinity, Spain.

ORISE (Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education) (2009a). Protocol for an analysis of cancer risk in populations living near nuclear-power facilities, Rev. 1, September 30. ORISE (2009b). Cancer incidence feasibility study, October 22.

Sermage-Faure, C, D. Laurier, S. Goujon-Bellec, M. Chartier, A. Guyot-Goubin, J. Rudant, D. Hémon, and J. Clavel. Childhood leukemia around French nuclear power plants—the Geocap study, 2002-2007. Int J Cancer. [Epub ahead of print]

Spix, C, S. Schmiedel, et al. (2008). Case-control study on childhood cancer in the vicinity of nuclear power plants in Germany 1980-2003. Eur J Cancer 44(2):275-284.

Spycher, B. D., M. Feller, et al. (2011). Childhood cancer and nuclear power plants in Switzerland: a census-based cohort study. Int J Epidemiol 40(5):1247-1260.

Urquhart, J., M. Palmer, et al. (1984). Cancer in Cumbria: The Windscale connection. Lancet 1(8370):217-218.

USNRC (U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission) (2011). 2011-2012 Information Digest. NUREG-1350, Vol. 23.

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In the late 1980s, the National Cancer Institute initiated an investigation of cancer risks in populations near 52 commercial nuclear power plants and 10 Department of Energy nuclear facilities (including research and nuclear weapons production facilities and one reprocessing plant) in the United States. The results of the NCI investigation were used a primary resource for communicating with the public about the cancer risks near the nuclear facilities. However, this study is now over 20 years old. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission requested that the National Academy of Sciences provide an updated assessment of cancer risks in populations near USNRC-licensed nuclear facilities that utilize or process uranium for the production of electricity.

Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1 focuses on identifying scientifically sound approaches for carrying out an assessment of cancer risks associated with living near a nuclear facility, judgments about the strengths and weaknesses of various statistical power, ability to assess potential confounding factors, possible biases, and required effort. The results from this Phase 1 study will be used to inform the design of cancer risk assessment, which will be carried out in Phase 2. This report is beneficial for the general public, communities near nuclear facilities, stakeholders, healthcare providers, policy makers, state and local officials, community leaders, and the media.

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