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Study Health Risks Before Proposing New Reactors
Joseph J. Mangano, MPH, MBA

Letters to the editor
Palm Beach Post
June 18, 2007

Florida Power & Light Co. has asked Miami-Dade County for zoning changes so it can build two new nuclear reactors at the Turkey Point plant near Miami ("FPL explores option for nuclear reactors," June 7). New reactors would add huge amounts of radioactivity to the current equivalent of hundreds of Hiroshima bombs already at Turkey Point. They would add to the threat of a large-scale meltdown at Turkey Point, which would poison thousands of Floridians with harmful radiation. Last year, a report by the group Greenpeace listed five "near miss" accidents at Turkey Point since 1986.

But a meltdown from another Chernobyl or 9/11 attack wouldn't be necessary for new reactors to harm the health of Floridians. Although nuclear reactors don't emit greenhouse gases, they routinely release more than 100 chemicals, created only in nuclear weapons and reactors, into the air and water. These radioactive chemicals enter the body through breathing and the food chain, where they cause cancer and are especially harmful to infants and children.

Health statistics show that in the past quarter-century, the childhood cancer rate in Miami-Dade County is almost double the rate for the rest of Florida. The county rate of thyroid cancer (sensitive to radioactive iodine) is more than double the rest of the state. Any plan to build new reactors should wait until a thorough review of health hazards posed by the existing reactors is completed. At the same time, safe forms of electricity such as solar and wind power should be considered.

Executive Director
Radiation and Public Health Project

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