The National Research Council will perform a pilot study of cancer risks in populations near seven U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC)-licensed nuclear facilities using two epidemiologic study designs: (i) an ecologic study of multiple cancer types of populations of all ages and (ii) a record-linkage-based case-control study of cancers in children. The pilot study will focus on the five activities described below:
- Obtain nuclear facility airborne and waterborne effluent release and meteorology data and digitize these data into a form that is usable for dose estimation.
- Develop a computer model to obtain estimates of absorbed doses to individual organs resulting from effluent releases.
- Obtain cancer incidence and mortality data at the census-tract level to assess the feasibility of the ecologic study.
- Link birth registration and cancer incidence data to identify eligible cases of pediatric cancers and matched controls to assess the feasibility of the record-linkage-based case-control study.
- Develop processes for involving and communicating with the public.
The pilot study will have two steps: Pilot Planning and Pilot Execution. The activities associated with Pilot Planning are:
- Appoint the study committee.
- Identify the processes for selecting qualified individuals and/or organizations to perform the epidemiology and dosimetry tasks.
- Initiate effluent release and meteorological data collection.
- Investigate availability of existing models or need to create a new model for dose estimation.
- Identify state requirements for data sharing and transfer of health information.
- Obtain IRB approvals for the study, as appropriate.
- Identify key stakeholders and processes for communicating with them.
- Prepare a brief committee-authored report that provides the committee’s advice to the National Research Council on the study design of and process for executing the pilot.
At the conclusion of the Pilot Execution step, the National Research Council will prepare a consensus report with findings regarding the scientific feasibility of carrying out an assessment of cancer risks at additional USNRC-licensed facilities. The report will also include, if feasible, an analysis of cancer risks in the populations near the seven pilot facilities.