News

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New US study on nuclear plant health risks hailed

From BusinessWeek:

Pennsylvania officials and activists say they are glad the federal government is taking another look at whether people who live near nuclear plants have a higher risk of getting cancer.

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced last month that it was asking the National Academy of Sciences to do a "state-of-the-art study" on cancer risk for populations surrounding nuclear power facilities.

The academy is being asked to update a 1990 study released by the National Cancer Institute that found no increased risk of cancer deaths in counties surrounding 62 nuclear facilities, "including all of the nuclear power reactors operational before 1982," the commission said.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said the question of possible health effects comes up frequently from the public.

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Coalition questions NRC oversight of VY

From the Brattleboro Reformer:

The New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution will have a chance to argue its case that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's oversight of management and maintenance at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is lacking.

On May 5, the NRC's petition review board will hear arguments from the NEC in support of its contention.

NEC filed the petition requesting the NRC undertake enforcement actions in response to Entergy's "failure" to understand Yankee's design basis and "the obvious inadequacy of Entergy VY's underground piping aging management plan ..."

NEC requested that the NRC conduct a diagnostic evaluation to assess both NRC and VY performance since Entergy assumed management of "the besieged and troubled facility."

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TMI -- 10 years after the lawsuits

From the York Daily Record:

Ten years ago a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to link radiation from the Three Mile Island accident to health problems in test cases of about 2,000 plaintiffs.

Yet some people who co-exist with the operating nuclear plant continue to question whether the partial meltdown on March 28, 1979, released radiation into the environment that has affected their health.

They live in the historical shadow of a plant that suffered a partial meltdown, the worst nuclear accident in United States history.

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Study on nuke plants, cancer planned

From LancasterOnline.com:

Two decades after it last did so, the federal government is taking a new look at whether people who live near nuclear plants have a higher risk of getting cancer.

A 1990 study released by the National Cancer Institute found no increased risk of cancer deaths in counties surrounding 62 nuclear facilities, including Three Mile Island and Peach Bottom.

But the new $5 million three-year study, to be conducted by the private National Academy of Sciences beginning this summer, will be able to take advantage of advanced modeling methods and more detailed records on cancers and take into account a longer cancer latency period.

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New cancer study of areas around U.S. nuclear facilities brings relief in TMI area

From the Patriot News:

Brenda Galinac and her infant son fled to Pittsburgh a day after the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island. Her husband, John, a police officer, went to work, including duty at TMI during President Jimmy Carter’s visit.

The family, who lived a few miles from TMI, was interviewed by health researchers a few months after the accident, and everyone felt fine. But 20 years later, her son was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Two years after that, her husband developed thyroid cancer. Galinac contacted the researchers, but was told the study was closed.

That’s why she’s excited to learn of a new study that will look at cancer cases surrounding all U.S. nuclear facilities, including TMI in Londonderry Twp.

Galinac, who lives in Wellsboro, said people such as her husband and son, who recovered, must be counted in order to fully understand the health risks of living near nuclear power plants. "I’ve always felt the previous study closed too soon, and maybe the long-term effects of what happened weren’t documented. I don’t think anyone at the time knew how long it might take for the consequences of the accident to develop," said Galinac, 53.

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Next door to nukes

From the York Daily Record

Citing the 20 years since the last comprehensive national study of its kind and information technology advances since then, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is requesting a new study on potential health effects posed by nuclear power plants.

The request was made to the National Academy of Sciences, which will oversee the study.

Findings from a previous study from the National Cancer Institute were published in 1991 and did not find a connection between living next to a plant and cancer-related deaths.

The question of possible health effects comes up frequently from the public, said Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the NRC.

"It's an appropriate time now," he said. "It's been two decades since this kind of national study."

Also, the previous study looked only at data on the county level to look for possible problems, Sheehan said, which might not have been refined enough.

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U.S. DOE says $13 bln needed in nuclear loan help

From Reuters:

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Wednesday that the Energy Department would need an additional $13 billion in authority from Congress to provide loan guarantees for building three new nuclear plants.

The department in February awarded $8.3 billion in loan guarantees to help build the first U.S. nuclear power plant in nearly three decades.

Chu told a Senate subcommittee that the $12 billion the department had left in loan guarantee authority would be enough to cover one more nuclear plant project that is seeking government help.

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Peach Bottom: NRC Evaluation of Changes, Tests and Experiments and Permanent Modifications

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3:  NRC Evaluation of Changes, Tests and Experiments and Permanent Modifications Team Inspection Report 05000277/2010006 and 05000278/2010006

ADAMS ACCESSION NO. ML101180465

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U.S. DOE pulls doc flagged by TMI-A

From the Press and Journal:

Nearly 20 years before 9/11, federal researchers studied the effects of an airplane crashing into a nuclear reactor. Their 1982 report is considered “sensitive’’ and kept from the public.

But a member of Three Mile Island-Alert, a grassroots watchdog of TMI and nuclear power, discovered the report on two federal websites recently. A microfiche version of the report was offered for sale for $40.

Scott Portz-line, a security consultant for TMI-Alert, notified the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security about the report. The DOE removed it from its website.

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Group will re-visit study on cancer risk for people living near TMI, other nuclear facilities

From the Patriot News:

The National Academy of Sciences, acknowledging that a study 20 years ago was flawed, is organizing an analysis of cancer risk for people living near the nation’s nuclear facilities, including Three Mile Island, site of the nation’s worst nuclear accident in March 1979.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission formally requested the study Monday at a meeting of the academy’s Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board.

The study done in 1990 considered only children who died of cancer near nuclear plants. The intent of the new study is to track those around nuclear plants who contracted the disease but didn’t die. The old study also looked at countywide populations; this next study is to target residents of communities near nuclear plants, such as Royalton and Middletown near TMI.

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