Studies show more cancers around nuclear plants

Rep. Mark Cojuangco of Pangasinan wants the government to raise up to $1 billion to recommission the Bataan nuclear power plant (BNPP), which has been idle for 22 years.

Conjuangco insists, with no recent technical feasibility studies to back him up, that the BNPP is safe and economical, despite previous government studies that say otherwise.

One of the major safety issues against nuclear plants is that their daily regular operation releases minute amounts of radioactive materials that causes human diseases. A number of studies have indicated, for instance, that the incidence of leukemia and other cancers is higher within a 5-10 kilometer radius around nuclear plants.

I have tracked down some of these studies and are making them available here.

1. A 2007 German study by Kaatsch, Spix, of 593 childhood leukemia cases between 1980 and 2003 found that incident went up as distance to the plant went down. The nearer to a nuclear plant a child was, the higher the risk of leukemia. Download the report here.

2. A 2003 review by Chang, Dave, found “a consistent pattern of childhood cancer incidence in all study areas <30 mi (48 km) from nuclear plants in the eastern United States”. The study also cites similar studies in Canada, France, Germany and the former Soviet Union which found “elevated childhood carcer incidence rates proximate to nuclear facilities”. Download the report here.

3. A 1996 U.S. review of data by Wing, Richardson, covering cancer cases ub areas exoised to the Three-Mile Island ITMI) accident. They conclude that “[TMI] accident doses were positively associated with cancer incidence. Associations were largest for leukemia, intermediate for lung cancer, and smallest for all cancers combined”. Download the report here.

While the third study is associated with a major nuclear accident, the first and second studies involve nuclear plants which have not had major accidents of the TMI type. Even without accidents as serious as the TMI accident, nuclear power plants can still causes cancers.



  1. Posted February 18, 2009 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    The thing is, you can find the same statistics of people getting cancer from living beneath powerlines, gas stations, and plants that manufacture computer parts.

  2. Roberto Verzola
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    I would also add, people who smoke, whose food have lots of chemical additives, etc. We are getting enough warnings about cancer sources. We just have to heed them.

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