The risk of cancer in children and adults living near the San Onofre nuclear power plant will be the subject of a major study by federal regulators.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will examine cancer rates and other issues at the plant as part of a larger study that will include health risks at seven nuclear power facilities across the nation, including the Dresden Nuclear Power Station in Illinois, The Millstone Power Station in Connecticut and the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in New Jersey.
The work, to be conducted in cooperation with the National Academy of Sciences, is expected to begin within three months and take until 2014 to complete, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said this week.
The study could also be expanded to include all U.S. nuclear facilities, the agency said.
In this first round, epidemiologists will conduct two types of research, the NRC said. In one study, overall rates of several types of cancer will be examined. In the other, the scientists will look specifically at cancer in children.
The research will update a prior report on cancer near nuclear power plants that was conducted in 1990.
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That study showed no general increased risk of death from cancer for people living near 62 nuclear facilities.
However, scientists at the time cautioned that the large sampling area around each plant might have impacted the results.
The San Onofre plant, which is operated by Southern California Edison, has been shut for almost all of this year due to problems with steam tubes and other parts.