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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Opponents of planned Monroe nuclear reactor push for study of cancer stats

February 5, 2012
Opponents of a planned nuclear reactor in Monroe are asking regulators to fully analyze some frightening local health statistics before signing off on a new plant.

Detroit Edison is currently navigating the federal permitting process for its Fermi 3 reactor - a proposed reactor to join the Fermi 2 plant in Monroe. Fermi 2 has been in operation since 1988 and has a generating capacity of 1.1 million. If approved, Fermi 3 would be built on the same 1,250-acre site.

But those opposed to its construction say that increased cancer rates that correspond with the start of the Fermi 2 reactor should be studied before a new plant gets the green light.
As part of the public comment process for the Fermi 3 permit, Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project called for further investigation into Monroe County statistics, including:

  •  Infant death rates
  •  Low birth weights
  •  Mortality rates for cancer
  •  Cancer incidence rates

"Of 19 indicators, the Monroe County rate change (before and after Fermi 2 began operating) exceeded the state or nation for all 19" he wrote in a submission to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Mangano's group is a nonprofit "dedicated to understanding the relationships between low-level, nuclear radiation and public health."

A collection of environmental groups, including Michigan's chapter of the Sierra Club, are calling for a scientific study of health conditions in Monroe County to create a baseline of data outlining the risks from living near a reactor.

"It's important to establish what the situation is," said Michael Keegan of Don't Waste Michigan. "If you're talking about putting another reactor into play, you need to know where you are with baseline cancer statistics."

DTE Spokesman Guy Cerullo questioned the validity of Mangano's work, describing it as a collection of older data. But the utility isn't opposed to letting science evaluate the impacts of nuclear plants on their communities.

In fact, he said, just such a study is underway. The National Academy of Sciences is wrapping up a 15-month study assessing cancer risks in populations living near nuclear facilities licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

"If you're going to do a study, let's do it the right way," Cerullo said. "I'd say the direction that the NRC is going in "to have the National Academy of Sciences doing this" that's the way to go."

(313) 222-2034

Thursday, February 2, 2012


For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 2, 2012

Joseph Mangano, Radiation and Public Health (609) 399-4343 odiejoe@aol.com
Ed McArdle, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter (313) 388-6645 ecoguy2@netzero.net
Michael J. Keegan, Don't Waste Michigan (734) 770-1441 mkeeganj@comcast.net 


A new report submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission showsdramatic increases in cancer and mortalities in Monroe County since thestart-up of the Fermi 2 nuclear plant. Using data from the Center for Disease Control, the report was prepared by Joseph Mangano, MPH, MBA Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project.

One of the most shocking statistics shows that cancer death rates of young people (up to age 24) living in Monroe County exceeded the U.S. national rate by 28% from 1985 to 2008 , a large shift from 1979-1984, when the county rate was 24% below the national average.  Cancer death rates for 25-44 year olds in Monroe County also jumped, from 22% below the U.S. national average to 4% above the national average.  In 1985 Fermi 2 loaded fuel and began low power testing, full commercial operation began January 1988.

There were 19 health indicators reviewed including infant mortalities, low birth weights and hospitalizations that showed increased incidence in Monroe County, compared to the U.S. national average. Ten of these indicators were statistically significant and 4 others approached significance.  

"These patterns in Monroe Country raise serious questions about whether emissions from Fermi 2 harmed local residents," says Joseph Mangano. "Before any decision is made on the future of Fermi 3, unusual health patterns such as these must be studied thoroughly by federal and state health officials, and findings reported to the public" Mangano concluded. 

Nuclear power plants emit numerous radioactive isotopes not only from accidents, but also as part of routine "normal" operations.  In 2002 Fermi 2 was 10th highest in the U.S. for airborne emissions of Iodine-131, 7th highest for Strontium 89.  In 2007 Fermi 2 was 13th highest in emissions of Tritium.  Fermi 2 experienced a serious accident Christmas day 1993 that resulted in a discharge of 2 million gallons of "slightly radioactive" water into Lake Erie. The drinking water intakes for Monroe and Frenchtown Twp. are located 1/4 mile downstream from the plant. Radioactive isotopes can bio-accumulate and bio-concentrate in the food chain much like DDT and dioxins. 

The report was prepared for submission to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the proposed Fermi 3 nuclear plant Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) public comment period.  Mangano calls for more study before approval of a new Fermi 3 nuclear plant that is proposed adjacent to Fermi 2 and the closed Fermi 1.  For these reasons a growing Coalition of Fermi 3 Intervenors have called for Baseline Health Studies of Monroe County in order that elevated cancers from a proposed Fermi 3 could be measured. 

The Mangano findings regarding Fermi 2 are consistent with studies from around the world.  

And the 2008 German study on childhood leukemia, posted at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2696975/?tool=pubmed

Both of these studies report elevated incidence of cancers associated with proximity to nuclear power plants. 

The Joseph Mangano Health Report is available from Beyond Nuclear, posted at:

All DEIS Public Comments (over 50) are in process of being posted at: http://www.beyondnuclear.org/home/2012/1/27/resistance-to-fermi-3-proposed-new-esbwr-targeted-at-monroe.html

* Beyond Nuclear * Citizens Environment Alliance SW Ontario * Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination * Don't Waste Michigan * Sierra Club Michigan *