A worker uses a glove box to safely process a variety of materials at Nuclear Fuel Services in Erwin, Tennessee. (Photo courtesy Nuclear Fuel Services)
ERWIN, Tenn. – Federal regulators have launched a pilot study of cancer risks in populations around six nuclear power plants, including a site in Unicoi County, Tennessee.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will study cancer in populations near the facilities and examine in a case-control study cancers in children born near the facilities.
Sites in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and Tennessee will be studied because they provide a broad sampling of facilities with different operating histories, population size and complexity of data.
The six reactor sites include the following:
Dresden Nuclear Power Station in Morris, Illinois
Millstone Power Station in Waterford, Connecticut
San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in San Clemente, California
Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Forked River, New Jersey
Haddem Neck facility in Haddam Neck, Connecticut (decommissioned)
Big Rock Point Nuclear Power Plant in Charlevoix, Michigan (decommissioned)
The area around the Nuclear Fuel Services facility in Erwin, Tennessee was also announced as part of the study.
The Tennessee site was the only non-reactor facility included in the study, according to the Johnson City Press.
Officials said the $2 million study was expected to begin in the next three months and continue into 2014.
According to CNN, the NRC has relied on a 1991 report from the National Cancer Institute to assess risk. The study showed no increased risk of cancer deaths for people "living in 107 counties containing or near 62 nuclear facilities."