Is Living Near a Nuclear Reactor Safe?

Radioactive materials can enter the body if people inhale, eat, or drink something contaminated. People living near nuclear power plants and exposed to radiation may experience long-term health effects, such as cancer. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensed facilities sometimes release very small amounts of radiation during normal operations. Operators must follow NRC regulations and closely monitor and control these releases to comply with strict dose limits.

They must also report them publicly to the agency. These reports continue to support the US, indicating that nuclear power plants do not affect public health and safety. However, some people worry that these small releases may affect health in communities around nuclear facilities. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study would have examined nuclear power plants and certain plants that create the nuclear fuel used in power plants. The NAS effort aimed to create an updated and more comprehensive examination of cancer incidence than a 1990 U.

S. National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute (NCI) Report, Cancer in Populations Living Near Nuclear Facilities. The 1990 NCI report concluded that cancer mortality rates were the same, whether there was a reactor nearby or not. NRC staff continue to use the NCI report as a primary resource during public discussions on cancer risk in communities near nuclear facilities. The pilot study would show if these technical challenges could be overcome.

It would also develop procedures and methods of data collection and help estimate the time and resources required for a large-scale study. NRC regulated facilities record information about their releases and report it once a year to the NRC. The committee recommended using these data and examining populations within about 30 miles of nuclear facilities to cover a range of potential radiation exposures. The committee also recommended adapting existing computer models (or developing a new model) to estimate radiation doses to individual organs from liquid and airborne radioactive releases. These facilities were selected because they began operating at different times and represent both nuclear facilities currently in operation and those decommissioned.

In addition, these centers would offer variations in the size of the surrounding population, the quality and maturation of the state's cancer registry, and the level of complexity for research approval processes and registry research support. The NRC agrees with the NAS that the focus of the study is scientifically sound. The NAS Phase 1 and 2 reports contain more detailed analysis of the methods and resources needed to conduct the proposed study. NRC staff will continue to monitor international and national studies on cancer risk to see if we need to do any future work in this area. For Europe and North America, the level of serious accident risk is very small. Should it occur, you would probably be instructed to stay inside and take an iodine pill.

You may be evacuated, but the level of risk of accidents during evacuation is much higher than that of radiation. If something goes wrong in a nuclear reactor, anyone living within a 10-mile radius of the plant will have to evacuate. This map also shows a 50-mile evacuation zone, the safe distance that the U. government recommended Americans who were near Fukushima. Wind can also change the distance a radioactive plume travels: on a similar map, environmental group NRDC calculated where the wind would have transported radiation if an accident had occurred in the U.

on the same day he did it in Japan. In the present study, a systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies was conducted to investigate the association between living near nuclear power plants and the risk of thyroid cancer. More than 20 years after a major study said there is no evidence that people living near nuclear power plants are at increased risk of dying from cancer, the federal government will reconsider the issue, starting with seven nuclear facilities from Connecticut to California. Thirteen studies were included in the meta-analysis, covering 36 nuclear power plants in 10 countries. Numerically (statistically), events at nuclear power plants that could lead to a large release of anticipated releases that could affect the public are unlikely to occur at a particular plant in any given period. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday that it is moving forward with the study because a frequently cited 1990 study is dated and because more modern methods of analysis and information sources are available. There has been public concern regarding the safety of residents near nuclear power plants, and the extent of thyroid cancer risk among adults living near nuclear power plants has not been fully explored. Even if nothing catastrophic happens, there is also a chance that nuclear plants will leak smaller: Most reactors leak tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen that can contaminate drinking water and, in high enough concentrations, cause cancer and genetic defects. That study did not show an overall increase in the risk of death from cancer for people living in 107 counties containing or near 62 nuclear facilities. The academy developed methods for evaluating radiation near nuclear plants and for evaluating cancer rates in nearby communities.