At the American Nuclear Society Meeting 2010 being held in San Diego, CA from June 13-18, NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko gave one of the plenary addresses. Lisa Stiles, providing reports from the meeting to the Atomic Show and Atomic Insights filed the following report and audio interview:
From Lisa Stiles: Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Greg Jaczko told attendees at the 2010 American Nuclear Society (ANS) Annual Meeting Opening Plenary in San Diego that he has commissioned from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) a study of cancer risks in areas surrounding nuclear facilities. He said that the last comprehenisve study was completed in 1990 by the National Cancer Institute. Since then, the availablility and quality of data has improved and Jaczko believes an updated study is needed.
Jaczko mentioned the study as part of the NRC’s efforts to enhance public confidence. He said that stakeholders frequently ask questions about radiation risk and the data that support NRC and licensee assumptions and analyses.
Conference attendees asked several questions expressing concern about the need, scope and goals of the initiative. Dr. Lee Dodds, Nuclear Engineering Department Head at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, asked if the NAS report would also study the health effects of other energy fuel cycles so that the public could make an informed comparison. Jaczko responded that his agency’s only jurisdiction is in the nuclear arena.
Chairman Jaczko agreed to discuss the study in more detail with me. Unfortunately, my recorder missed the first 30-60 seconds of the interview. In that time I asked him about the scope of the study: Would it include only new data since 1990? By “nuclear facilities” did he mean only commercial plants or other licensees? Would the study include all historical data including that from government facilities? The chairman said that the details are not complete and that the NAS would have most of the responsibility for determining the appropriate scope.
I next asked him about the goal of the study and what he expected to be different from previous analyses. The audio picks up as he responds. I look forward to discussion of Jaczko’s remarks!