Public Health Risks Of
Of The Indian Point 2 and 3 Nuclear Reactors
J. Mangano, MPH, MBA
Radiation and Public Health Project
November 12, 2007
Rosalie Bertell PhD, founder of the International Institute of Concern
for Public Health
Marci Culley PhD, associate professor of psychology, Georgia State University
Samuel Epstein MD, professor emeritus of public health, Univ. of Illinois-Chicago
Sam Galewsky PhD, associate professor of biology, Millikin (IL) University
Donald Louria MD, professor of preventive medicine, New Jersey Medical
Kay Kilburn MD, retired professor of medicine, University of Southern
Janette Sherman MD, adjunct professor, Environmental Institute, Western
The Indian Point nuclear plant, 35 miles north of midtown
Manhattan, has three reactors, two of which remain in operation. Entergy
Nuclear, which operates the plant, has requested that the federal government
extend the operating licenses of the two reactors for 20 additional years
beyond their 2013 and 2015 expiration dates.
To date, federal officials have not acknowledged any
public health risks of license extension at Indian Point. This report
explores risks from extending the Indian Point licenses.
Continued operation of Indian Point raises the risk
of radioactivity exposure in two ways.
- First, the reactor cores would produce high-level
waste to be added to the 1,500 tons already at the site, worsening the
consequences of a large-scale release.
- Second, because reactors routinely release
radioactivity, keeping Indian Point in service would mean greater releases
and risks to local residents.
The principal findings of this report are:
- A large-scale release of radioactivity in a meltdown,
from mechanical failure or act of sabotage, would harm thousands through
acute radiation poisoning or cancer.
- Indian Point has released the 5th greatest amount
of airborne radioactivity out of 72 U.S. nuclear plants. In some periods,
releases are up to 100 times greater than normal.
- Radioactivity levels in the Hudson River near Indian
Point are over 10 times greater than those in Albany. Large variations
exist in local radioactivity levels; for example, 2006 airborne radioactivity
was three times as high in late fall, an in late spring.
- Levels of Strontium-90 in local baby teeth are the
highest of any area near seven U.S. nuclear plants. Local children born
in the late 1990s have an average Sr-90 level 38% greater than those
born a decade earlier.
- In the four counties closest to Indian Point, the
incidence of cancer exceeds the state and national rates. In 2000-2004,
excess cancer cases range from 2090 to 3631.
- Local incidence rates of childhood cancer and thyroid
cancer, both known to be sensitive to radiation exposure, are among
the highest in New York State. Local thyroid cancer incidence is about
70% above the U.S. rate.
- Cancer incidence in the towns within five miles
of Indian Point is 20% greater than the rest of Rockland and Westchester
- There is a statistical link between average levels
of Strontium-90 in local baby teeth and local childhood cancer rates.
- If closing Indian Point is associated with decreases
in cancer mortality as it did near the Rancho Seco CA plant, 5000 fewer
cancer deaths would occur in the next 20 years.
While many factors contribute to cancer risk, evidence
suggests that more detailed study on Indian Point is warranted, and that
the public be informed of any health risks.
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