October 9, 2008

Nuke Cancer Scares Ignore Facts



The Sept. 27 letter, "Pilgrim re-licensing should consider town's cancer occurrence," is an example of fear mongering at its worst.

Radiation emissions from Pilgrim are closely monitored and controlled by both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

A December 2006 NRC report noted that "Results from the 5-year period from 2001 through 2005 indicate that the radiation and radioactivity in the environmental media monitored around the plant are well within applicable regulatory limits."

Further, several studies show there to be no increased amounts of cancer or risk of death for people living close to a nuclear power plant.

The National Cancer Institute conducted a study of cancer mortality rates around 52 nuclear power plants in the U.S., which concluded there was no evidence that nuclear facilities are linked with deaths from leukemia or from other forms of cancers in populations living nearby.

The American Cancer Society also concluded that although reports about cancer clusters in some communities near nuclear power plants have raised public concern, studies show that clusters do not occur more often near nuclear plants than elsewhere in the population.

Closer to home, in 1990 the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released its Southeastern Massachusetts Health Study, after which a panel of experts was called in to review the material.

In 1993, David Mulligan, then commissioner of the Massachusetts DPH, pointed out that the experts wrote, "The results presented here (the 1990 study) should be interpreted cautiously, because they fall far short of proving that Pilgrim's operation has caused. . . leukemia incidence."

In a nutshell, there is zero evidence to support any link between increased cancer in Plymouth and the Pilgrim Nuclear Power plant.

So long as Pilgrim's license renewal is based upon a review of facts, it can - and should - receive an operating license renewal.

Lauren Mauriello is program coordinator for Boston-based Massachusetts Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance (Mass AREA).

Originally published by By LAUREN MAURIELLO.

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