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Millstone to be part of study on cancer risk at nuclear sites

By Judy Benson

Published October 24. 2012 4:00AM   Updated October 24. 2012 9:55AM

The Millstone Power Station in Waterford and the decommissioned Connecticut Yankee power plant in Haddam will be part of a pilot study of cancer risk around nuclear sites, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Tuesday.

A total of six power plant sites and a nuclear fuel facility will be involved in the study. The NRC has asked the National Academy of Sciences to conduct the study, which will be used to determine whether a larger study should be done involving all of the nation’s nuclear reactors and some fuel sites, NRC said in a news release.

A proposal for the pilot study was announced in April. In Tuesday’s announcement, the NRC said it was implementing the proposal.

In April, the NRC said it had asked the academy to develop a proposal to examine cancer risk and nuclear facilities because modeling tools and cancer incidence data now available are better than when the last cancer study was done, in 1989.

The NRC said it expects to begin the pilot study process in the next three months. It is expected to cost about $2 million and will continue at least through 2014, the NRC said.

The study will examine two types of epidemiological studies for the regions around the seven sites. The first will look at multiple types of cancer in populations near the facilities. For the second part, a case-control study will be done of cancers in children born near the seven facilities, the NRC said.

Ken Holt, spokesman for Millstone owner Dominion, said the company will be fully cooperative.

“We will support the study and provide whatever information is needed, so they’ll have a successful study,” he said.

In addition to Millstone and Haddam Neck, the other sites are: Dresden Nuclear Power Station in Morris, Ill.; Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Forked River, N.J.; Big Rock Point Nuclear Power Plant in Charlevoix, Mich.; San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in San Clemente, Calif.; and Nuclear Fuel Services in Erwin, Tenn.

The academy recommended these seven sites because they are a good sampling of facilities with different operating histories, population sizes and levels of complexity in data retrieval from state cancer registries, NRC said.

j.benson@theday.com

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