SIDEBAR 1.1
Statement of Task

The National Academies will provide an assessment of cancer risks in populations living near U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission-licensed nuclear facilities. This assessment will be carried out in two consecutive phases:

A Phase 1 scoping study will identify scientifically sound approaches for carrying out the cancer epidemiology study that has been requested by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It will address the following tasks:

1. Methodological approaches for assessing off-site radiation dose, including consideration of:

• Pathways, receptors, and source terms

• Availability, completeness, and quality of information on gaseous and liquid radioactive releases and direct radiation exposure from nuclear facilities

• Approaches for overcoming potential methodological limitations arising from the variability in radioactive releases over time and other confounding factors

• Approaches for characterizing and communicating uncertainties.

2. Methodological approaches for assessing cancer epidemiology, including consideration of:

• Characteristics of the study populations (e.g., socioeconomic factors, all age groups, children only, and nuclear facility workers)

• Geographic areas to use in the study (e.g., county, zip codes, census tracts, or annular rings around the facility at some nominal distances)

• Cancer types and health outcomes of morbidity and mortality

• Availability, completeness, and quality of cancer incidence and mortality data

• Different epidemiological study designs and statistical assessment methods (e.g., ecologic or case-control study designs)

• Approaches for overcoming potential methodological limitations arising from low statistical power, random clustering, changes in population characteristics over time, and other confounding factors

• Approaches for characterizing and communicating uncertainties.

The results of this Phase 1 scoping study will be used to inform the design of the cancer risk assessment, which will be carried out in Phase 2.



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