New study looks at cancer risk near nuclear facilities, including one in Michigan

Oct 24, 2012

A new federal study will look at cancer risk around nuclear facilities.

The National Academy of Sciences study will look at cancer types in infants and the general population near six nuclear power plants and one nuclear-fuel plant for the Navy.

The sites being studied are in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and Tennessee.

Researchers will look at the area around the decommissioned Big Rock Point Nuclear Power Plant in Charlevoix, Michigan.

The study is being driven by community concern, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

To help address these concerns the NRC has asked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to perform a state-of-the-art study on cancer risk for populations surrounding NRC-licensed nuclear facilities. The NAS will study nuclear power plants that generate electricity and certain plants that create the nuclear fuel used in the power plants...

NRC officials say they are seeking to update a 1990 National Institutes of Health study that found no elevated risk of cancer mortality in populations of people living near these facilities.

Nuclear power plants emit small amounts of radiation during normal operation, amounts the power plants are required to release to the public.

The $2 million study is expected to begin in the next three months and continue at least into 2014.

A nuclear industry group, the Nuclear Energy Institute, opposes the study and says it's not likely to provide any meaningful data.

You can find more information about the study here.