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Need for inquiry into cancer rates near Oyster Creek Nuclear Power PLant

Activists seek radiation study at Oyster Creek, Asbury Park Press, Kirk Moore, @KirkMooreAPP  TOMS RIVER – Ocean County activists said Wednesday night that they want researchers to take a close look at historic radiation releases from the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant.

In particular, they want a review of 1979, when the plant in Lacey had high atmospheric emissions in the same year when a near-accident dropped reactor water levels dangerously low.

“The data was extremely hard to find,” activist Janet Tauro told a panel of cancer experts and epidemiologists working with a National Academy of Sciences’ pilot study of cancer rates around Oyster Creek and six other nuclear plants.

During five weeks, Tauro said, citizen researchers found records of large releases at Oyster Creek from 1974 to 1985.

“They appear to be staggering, and we never knew,” she said during a public comment session in Toms River on Wednesday night.At the request of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the NAS is conducting the study of cancer rates around nuclear plants to determine if a much broader, multi-year study is warranted. The public hearing in Toms River was one of a series where investigators are taking comments and suggestions.

An Ocean County activist group, Grandmothers, Mothers and More for Energy Safety, along with Clean Water Action obtained a 1995 report by the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, that summarized airborne and liquid effluent releases from U.S. nuclear plants from 1974 to 1992. Those numbers showed a peak in atmospheric emissions at Oyster Creek in 1979. In those years, the plant was operated by Jersey Central Power & Light.

“In 1972 and ’73 they had some pretty high releases, and again in 1978 and ’79,” said David Lochbaum, director of the nuclear safety program at the Union of Concerned Scientists and a nuclear engineer who worked on boiling water reactors like Oyster Creek.

“What we’re asking for is NAS to look into this more closely,” said Paul Gunter of the anti-nuclear group Beyond Nuclear, which helped the Ocean County activists with documents. The 1979 atmospheric emissions of 1.01 million curies “was not the biggest release (from a plant) but that’s a very large release,” he said……….

While admitting he’s just a medical doctor and not an epidemiologist, Joseph Sauer said his review of public health databases in Illinois showed higher rates of cancers in areas close to the Dresden and Braidwood plants owned by Exelon, which now operates the Oyster Creek reactor…..

June 6, 2014 - Posted by | health, USA

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