The Obama administration is not wasting the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis either.
Despite lip service to the effect that it still supports nuclear power, the Obama administration has rushed to publication a study fueling fears of cancer caused by nuclear accidents.
The study, I-131 Dose-Response for Incident Thyroid Cancers in Ukraine Related to the Chornobyl Accident, reports that,
I-131-related thyroid cancer risks [from the Chernobyl nuclear accident] persisted for two decades following exposure with no evidence of decrease during the observation period.
The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today issued a media release spotlighting the study titled, “HIGHER CANCER RISK CONTINUES AFTER CHERNOBYL: NIH study finds that thyroid cancer risk for those who were children and adolescents when they were exposed to fallout has not yet begun to decline.”
First, the study is unduly alarmist. Yes, there is an ongoing increase in thyroid cancer risk among those who lived near the Chernobyl plant, but there are more facts to the story than the Obama administration and the researchers mention.
Although there have been about 4,000 thyroid “extra” cancers believed to be associated with the Chernobyl accident, there have been only nine (9) deaths since thyroid cancer is treatable. All these cancers have occurred among people living near Chernobyl; none of occurred in the rest of the world.
Next, the timing of the study is curious. Although it was submitted for publication back on July 2, 2010, the NIH-run journal Environmental Health Perspectives didn’t see fit to “accept” the study for publication until March 14 — three days after the nuclear accident began. It was then rushed to online publication three days later on March 17.
As the study provides no new information of any value, there is little wonder that it had been ignored until the Fukushima Daiichi disaster when it could be used to help foment panic.
Keeping in mind the remarks by the brainless Surgeon General Regina Benjamin about the reasonableness of buying precautionary potassium iodide tablets, it is hard to get past the notion that the Obama administration plans to subtly use the crisis to kill the prospects for more nuke power in the U.S.
Add in the fact that President Obama was quick to cut the funding for the Yucca Mountain spent fuel storage project in early 2009, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s tepid endorsement of nuclear power this week begins to look like mere temporizing while unreasoned public fear can be spread.