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POLL RESULTS: Concerns That Proximity to Oyster Creek May Impact Health?

Barnegat Patch readers are pretty evently split in their opinion.

Following last week's story about the possibility of Oyster Creek Generating Station being included in a pilot study of cancer risks in populations in close proximity to nuclear facilities, we asked for your thoughts.

Do you feel radiation may have adverse effects on local residents? Or do think the worries are unwarranted?

A few voters indicated they would wait for the study to come out before forming or finalizing their opinion, but otherwise, the poll results were pretty evenly split between readers saying "no, they aren't worried," and those saying "yes they are," with "not worried" results trumping "worried" by a single vote.

The National Research Council will conduct the two-phase study, which was requested and will be funded by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), on the 104 nuclear reactors and 13 fuel cycle facilities licensed throughout the country.

The study is a follow-up to one that was done in 1990 by the National Cancer Institute that had limitations and is now outdated, said John Burris, chair of the committee that wrote the report and president of Burroughs Wellcome Fund. That finding stated, “If nuclear facilities posed a risk to neighboring populations, the risk was too small to be detected by a survey such as this one.”

"Finding scientific evidence of whether people who live near nuclear facilities have a greater risk of developing cancer than those who live farther away is a challenge," Burris said. "There are issues of whether scientists can get the information needed to carry out the study.”

Some cancer registries only contain recent data and data could be insufficient to estimate the amount of radioactive material released from nuclear facilities, he said.

“This makes it much more difficult to determine risks from decades ago when radiation releases from nuclear facilities were larger," Burris said. 

The research council proposed two approaches to the study—one would investigate rates of cancer occurrence and cancer deaths in small geographic areas within 30 miles of nuclear facilities; the other would be to conduct a record-based case-control study to assess the association of cancers in children under 15 years old in relation to their mothers’ residential proximity to the facility during pregnancy.

Both approaches would have a sub-analysis focusing on leukemia, a form of cancer associated with radiation exposure in children.

Thank you for voting!

Katia Raina April 17, 2012 at 01:17 PM
I tried to ask more questions to make sure I am being inclusive of all the possible responses out there. Perhaps one could make an argument that "not concerned" is equivalent to a "no," but "not sure, will wait for the study" and "no" are two very different things. And that's right, this ISN'T scientific, and isn't trying to be. This isn't a study -- just an informal poll measuring readers' opinion, with no weight on policy or the truth -- merely a conversation.
Susan McDermott April 17, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Sorry, didn't mean to put you on the defensive, Katia. It's just the way my brain sees stuff like this. No worries.
Katia Raina April 17, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Not a problem, Susan, thanks! :) It's kind of fascinating all the different way the answers can be influenced -- definitely something to keep in mind for me when I create these.
Rick April 20, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Katia's is just a casual survey. Actually most polls should be labeled "not a scientific poll". Polls can be slanted by the form of question, where they are taken and a host of other factors.
Rick April 20, 2012 at 06:50 PM
What is interesting is that Oyster Creek has been running for over 40 years and NOW the NRC wants to do a study. Not just Oyster Creek but all nuke plants across the country. Shouldn't these studies have been done years ago?

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