A U.S. agency is investigating the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station after a French study showed that children living in the area of French nuclear power plants were at double the risk of acute leukemia. The study will attempt to determine if the San Onofre station plays any role in an increase in cancer.
The French study was conducted in the years 2002-2007 and determined that children living within three miles of the nuclear plants between the ages of 2 and 4, were twice as likely to be at risk for acute leukemia.
The study focused on the 2,753 cases that were diagnosed between 2002 and 2007 and the 30,000 contemporaneous population controls.
The study did not find that there was an increase in the years preceding 2002. Nor did it find the plants to be the direct cause of the cancer.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the National Academy of Sciences will be conducting the U.S. study and they will focus on these exact issues.
It has been 20 years since the last government-funded study took place, and some residents feel that that has been too long. The last study did not conclusively determine that living close to nuclear power plants could have detrimental effects on health.
Critics of that report, which took place in 1990, have said that the original study had many problems and they hope that the new study can correct them.
The study looked at more than 900,000 deaths related to cancer from the years 1950 to 1984 in the perimeters just outside of the nuclear plants. It determined that of the 16 types of cancer that they studied, there was no increase of death among the residents.
Of the numerous problems that critics had with the study, a few problems will be addressed in the new research, including tracking the mortality rates from residents that moved away from the plant, as well as those who still reside there, tracking the people that got cancer as well as those that died from it and examining the residents that live closest to the reactor, rather than the whole county.
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