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Radioactive releases from the nuclear power sector and implications for child health

  1. Cindy Folkers,
  2. Linda Pentz Gunter
  3. Correspondence to Ms Cindy Folkers;



Radioactive releases from the nuclear power sector and implications for child health

  1. Folkers,
  2. Linda Pentz Gunter
  3. Correspondence to Ms Cindy Folkers;


Although radioactivity is released routinely at every stage of nuclear power generation, the regulation of these releases has never taken into account those potentially most sensitive—women, especially when pregnant, and children. From uranium mining and milling, to fuel manufacture, electricity generation and radioactive waste management, children in frontline and Indigenous communities can be disproportionately harmed due to often increased sensitivity of developing systems to toxic exposures, the lack of resources and racial and class discrimination. The reasons for the greater susceptibility of women and children to harm from radiation exposure is not fully understood. Regulatory practices, particularly in the establishment of protective exposure standards, have failed to take this difference into account. Anecdotal evidence within communities around nuclear facilities suggests an association between radiation exposure and increases in birth defects, miscarriages and childhood cancers. A significant number of academic studies tend to ascribe causality to other factors related to diet and lifestyle and dismiss these health indicators as statistically insignificant. In the case of a major release of radiation due to a serious nuclear accident, children are again on the frontlines, with a noted susceptibility to thyroid cancer, which has been found in significant numbers among children exposed both by the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine and the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. The response among authorities in Japan is to blame increased testing or to reduce testing. More independent studies are needed focused on children, especially those in vulnerable frontline and Indigenous communities. In conducting such studies, greater consideration must be applied to culturally significant traditions and habits in these communities.

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October 26, 2022 Posted by | Nuclear | , | Leave a comment