Rebecca Chin’s comments to NRC on Pilgrim Radiation Safety

Rebecca Chin*, Co-chair of the Town of Duxbury’s Nuclear Advisory Committee, and past Chairman of its Board of Health, gave the following testimony to the NRC in Plymouth, Massachusetts on May 1, 2014.

RADIATION SAFETY for the Public and Worker  – These ‘Cornerstones’ should be RED, not Green:

Air Monitoring:  Neither Entergy nor NRC have real-time combined air/meteorological monitors placed offsite in both the near and far field to record radiological data for alpha, beta and gamma.  Therefore the NRC doesn’t know what is ‘blowing in the wind’.

National Academies latest report said there is no safe dose of radiation and that exposure to even very low levels of radiation is 3 times more dangerous than previously expected – and more so for children and women. We rely on statistics from the Mass. Cancer Registry.  In 1982, it began recording data showing a continued increase in radiation-linked cancers in communities around Pilgrim.

A review of the Massachusetts Cancer Registry data, complete through 2010, shows Plymouth from 2002-2009  with a statistically significant increased level of leukemia, at the 95% probability level.  This means that there is, at most, a 5% chance that the difference between the observed and expected cases is due to chance. There also is a statistically significant increased level of prostate cancer, another radiation linked disease.

For the previous two decades, the MA Cancer Registry shows the “footprints” of radiation linked disease (leukemia, thyroid cancer, multiple myeloma and prostate cancer) in the seven towns most likely to be impacted by Pilgrim – Carver, Duxbury, Kingston, Marshfield, Pembroke, Plymouth, and Plympton. The Cape is downwind from Pilgrim much of the year. It, along with southeastern Massachusetts has the highest cancer rates in the state. There has not yet been a study to determine if radiation emissions from Pilgrim are the missing variable to explain the high cancer rates there.

A major case-control study by the Mass. Department of Public Health (1990) found a 4-fold increase in adult leukemia the closer one lived or worked at Pilgrim. Pilgrim did not like the results and cut a political deal allowing it to appoint a second peer review panel to re-review the study and write a report. Even Pilgrim’s hand-picked panel concluded that, “The original study team adhered to generally accepted epidemiological principles… [And] …the findings of the study cannot be readily dismissed on the basis of methodological errors or proven biases… [and last]…the association found between leukemia and proximity to the Pilgrim nuclear facility was unexpectedly strong.”

Mass Department of Public Health has a very limited offsite monitoring program due to finances.  Due to the lack of sufficient air monitor coverage, The Town of Duxbury has purchased an air monitor (with a weather station) to be connected to MDPH.  It was installed on Duxbury Bay this morning.

The NRC handout tonight says “Protecting People and the Environment”, I ask, Please Do – Require Entergy funding for an adequate number of monitors in the 10 mile EPZ and Cape Cod.

Ms. Chin also gave this rebuttal to NRC statements:

‘The NRC spokesperson, Ms. Patricia Milligan, who spoke about the new Health Study failed to mention that Pilgrim is NOT one of the 7 plants in the study and the NRC may stop after phase 2 if they don’t like the findings.  NRC is providing all the funding.  I was on the conference call last fall.’

‘The other NRC person only spoke to what emissions are monitored onsite.  They do not know the extent or direction/dispersion of those emissions once they travel offsite ‘blowing in the wind’ and stay around on the ground for years.’

* Ms. Chin’s 25 years of service on Duxbury town boards also includes Water Quality (PCE), and the School Committee. She has also contended with Pilgrim’s emergency planning and MEMA continuously.

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