Phase 1 Report

cover.phpThe report, Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1 was published in 2012.  The report represents the consensus findings of a committee of experts convened by the National Research Council’s Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board. You can read or purchase the full report, or read a brief summary of the report and its findings.

The committee was asked to assess methodologies for carrying out cancer risk assessments in populations living near nuclear facilities.  The report concludes that studies of health effects in populations (epidemiologic studies) could provide clues for a potential association between living near nuclear facilities and risk of cancer. However, such studies are challenging because of incomplete data on occurrences of cancer  and cancer deaths in geographic areas of interest (i.e., smaller than the county level), incomplete information on radioactive release from nuclear facilities during early years of operation, and other factors. Moreover, because radioactive releases are generally low, any risks would be expected to be small and difficult to detect with statistical certainty.

This report concludes that the types of studies most suited to the task are: (1) an ecologic study that assesses cancer incidence and mortality of relatively common cancer types in populations within approximately 50 kilometers (30 miles); (2) a record-linkage based case-control study that assesses the association of childhood cancers in relation to maternal residential proximity at the time of birth of the child under study.   A pilot study would be needed to determine whether either or both of the two recommended study designs are feasible to implement no a large scale and to assess the required time and resources.