Cancer rate near Vogtle questioned

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WAYNESBORO, Ga. - A North Carolina environmental group unveiled a study Wednesday that showed significantly higher cancer deaths in the counties surrounding the Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant.

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and its allies say that's all the more reason to oppose adding more reactors there. But the study author stopped short of saying the cancers are caused by radiation and not other factors.

Vogtle fired up two reactors in the late 1980s, and the Southern Co. is seeking regulatory approval to start up new units there. The Blue Ridge group opposes that move and commissioned the cancer death study late last year.

It found that since the reactors went online there has been a 25 percent increase in the cancer death rate in Burke County, while nationally the death rate has declined by 4 percent, said Louis Zeller, nuclear campaign coordinator for the group.

"There is an increase in Burke County that goes contrary to what is happening in the rest of the country," he said.

An Augusta Chronicle analysis of data from the Georgia Division of Public Health found a cancer death rate of 225 per 100,000, slightly below the group's rate of 231, but data for three years were not available. The U.S. cancer death rate is slightly below Burke's, at 207, and Georgia's was slightly below that for the same period, at 204.

Study author Joseph J. Mangano, the executive director of the New York City-based Radiation and Public Health Project, noted the area's higher rates of poverty and higher percentage of minorities, who traditionally have suffered higher death rates from many cancers.

"My point is this area has always been poor and high-minority," he said in a phone interview from New Jersey. "If you look at the period before Vogtle began operating, some of the death rates are actually low. The Burke County death rate was well below the U.S. And afterwards it was high. One would have to look at it further, but it's not apparent that the poverty status changed drastically in Burke County from the late '80s until now."

The Chronicle analysis also noted higher cancer death rates than Burke's in some surrounding counties, such as Wilkes.

"The more-populated counties and the less-populated counties, there are some differences," Mr. Zeller said. "But the overall trend is very plain. And that is that cancer deaths have increased, particularly as compared with the overall trend in the United States going down."

But Mr. Mangano said the report does not provide proof that radiation, whose emissions had increased, is the culprit.

"This report is really just a beginning, but it does raise, I believe, serious questions that should be answered," he said.

Georgia Power spokeswoman Carol Boatright said the company would review the report, but government studies around nuclear plants found no cancer link.

Judy Stocker, of Keysville, a member of the Women's Action of New Directions group, said the report has spurred her to try to stop any expansion of the plant.

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

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Da Voice Inside Your Head
7
Points
Da Voice Inside Your Head 06/21/07 - 06:36 am
0
0

Figures lie and Liars figure.

Figures lie and Liars figure. This is a prime example of people with an agenda interputating data to fit their predetermined mindset.We are blessed in GA with some of the cheapest electricity in the US. The expansion at Vogtle will provide a SAFE, CLEAN and economic source of electricity for many years to come. The economic boost that the construction will bring will be a Godsend to the people of this area plus a source of many high paying jobs. I wonder if their data took into account that their is a 60+ year old Nuclear plant right across the river? I don't understand some people's thinking. If you built a coal plant they'd be complaining about greenhouse gases. Natural gas would be too "wasteful". What are we supposed to do, sit around in the dark?I hope the people in this area don't fall for this bunch of "Bunny Huggers" BS.My statistics professor showed us how easy it is to munipulate data to prove both sides of an argument. The bottom line is do we want economic growth or to sit in the dark.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
6415
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 06/21/07 - 07:45 am
0
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Since I am very familiar with

Since I am very familiar with the area I can say without a doubt that it has a very large undereducated, low income, minority population. I have seen their lifestyle habits, their shopping habitsand their dietary habits and am not surprised at these numbers. Would I attribute thses things to Vogtle, NO. Would I attribute them to the habits of the people, YES. What surprises me is that some of them live long enough to be diagnosed with cancer, due to their other habits. Is there a link to the plant or is it to the way they live. I believe the latter!

eric stoner
0
Points
eric stoner 06/21/07 - 07:55 am
0
0

Ditto

Ditto

aaa
2
Points
aaa 06/21/07 - 09:00 am
0
0

I didn't see where the study

I didn't see where the study group made any references to the following:
1. Any particular type of cancer more prevalent than other types? We know that different forms of radiation may produce a risk of different types of cancers.
2. There was no comparison referenced to other localities in the U.S. where similar models of the Vogtle reactors were installed during the same time frame. Do those localities also have the same increased death risk?
3. Were the deaths from cancer all within a stagnant population group? How many of the deaths occured in folks who were diagnosed elsewhere but then moved into the region, later dying of their cancer?
4. Do the death risk statistics document deaths caused by the cancer or all deaths in all cancer patients? In other words, some people will end up dying from or because of their cancer. Others will die from other causes but with evidence of their cancers.
5. Which cancers were included in the study? Skin cancer and melanomas are directly related to radiation - but, from the sun! They should not be included in the study or should be footnoted.
6. What about the incidence of known radiation caused cancers diagnosed in the local population?

HGGP
0
Points
HGGP 06/21/07 - 09:05 am
0
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What the study does not show

What the study does not show is: how many of those cancer victims were smoker, were former workers with materials that have sinced been found to cause cancer (asbestos), how many of them are war veterans that suffered the affects of Agent Orange, how many of these victims had hereditary cancer? This study probably only shows numbers, where are the facts? So Judy Stocker from Keysville, I am from Keysville too, and I know that without Plant Vogtle many of our tax dollars will be lost. Without the new reactors the influx of tax dollars will be lost. Plant Vogtle is in many ways what drives our economy and our school systems, which by the way is and will always be top notch. So think about this Ms. Stocker before you go running off at the mouth. Your opinion is not the only one that counts here the wonderful world of Burke County. Thank you Beach Music and DVIYH for your truth and support on this matter. God Bless us all and Burke County for what we have overcome in the past and the remarkble future that we have.

aaa
2
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aaa 06/21/07 - 09:46 am
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Who are the Women's Action of

Who are the Women's Action of New Directions group? They are an ultra liberal group that favors a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq (surender), peace talks with Iran (a nation that declares it will destroy Israel and defeat America), the prevention of any upgrade or maintenance of America's nuclear arsenal, as well as opposition to the building of any new nuclear energy facility in the U.S. ! (According to their website, the Women's Action of New Directions group). Augusta Chronicle! Shame on you! - where is your fair and balanced reporting? A cursory read of your article makes one think that this local woman is representative of how most folks in the surrounding area feel about building new reactors. It takes a computer hooked to the internet and a few minutes of your time to realize that this lady is only regurgitating the radical left's talking points agenda!

charles yonce
0
Points
charles yonce 06/21/07 - 10:00 am
0
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studies have shown for years

studies have shown for years that anywhere these reactors locate,cancers increase.would that explain why they usually locate these sites on the "other" side of town where few would understand the ramifications,but need the jobs desperately?how many responders here today live anywhere near vogtle?or have been in that area since 1980 till now?

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 06/21/07 - 10:16 am
0
0

How many of the responders

How many of the responders are willing to move their family to this area?

aaa
2
Points
aaa 06/21/07 - 10:18 am
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Who is the Blue Ridge

Who is the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League ? Seems that this Lou Zeller has quite a history: He made similar statements to oppose Virginia's expansion of it's North Anna power plant: "that the death rates of children doubled post-start up of North Anna". In addition, a correspondent from Virginia noted that: "[Zeller] claims the data suggests these children were harmed by radioactive emissions from the plant. Mr. Zeller referenced the CDC website as his data source, so I went online myself to check out his numbers … and I encourage all of you to do the same. While the Blue Ridge website says their death statistics exclude accidents, homicides, and suicides, what I saw at CDC.gov proved otherwise (Louisa County). Zeller’s “Before” numbers did correctly exclude accidents, but his “After” numbers did not exclude them. This is how Zeller’s death rates are made to “almost double.”
I also read the 25 page report from BREDL's website (pdf). Talk about playing fast and loose with the numbers!!!!!!! BREDL does a similar miscalculation to distort the numbers regarding Plant Vogtle. Come on Augusta Chronicle! Do your own investigative reporting before passing this crap off as facts!

hmm
0
Points
hmm 06/21/07 - 10:37 am
0
0

Yeah, this is all BS.

Yeah, this is all BS. Nuclear power is the cheapest and among the cleanest and safest of all power sources.

critter
2
Points
critter 06/21/07 - 10:38 am
0
0

Hey folks, this is part of

Hey folks, this is part of how we got that Cancer Center designation. They don't put those in areas of the country that have low cancer rates! As to whether or not Vogtle was "responsible" for the cancer increases, I seriously doubt it. I think what really happens in these instance is that it's not Vogtle or SRS that is the problem; there's way too much oversight. The problem to me is all the little "bubba-businesses" that shoot, they ain't gonna dispose of their hazardous chemicals the way they're supposed to - nah, we just bury 'em in 55 gallon drums on the back corner of the property. And did they at least use requisite personal protective equipment while improperly disposing of this stuff? Are you kidding me? (I used to work in hazardous chemical storage & disposal, and I am amazed at how often something like that happens.) People are so busy putting microscopes on Vogtle & SRP that they overlook to potential harms caused by the small businesses that don't have near as much oversight and quite frankly don't care how much harm their waste causes.

atwitsend
5
Points
atwitsend 06/21/07 - 11:41 am
0
0

Hey! Somebody better call

Hey! Somebody better call Erin Brockovich!!!!!

aaa
2
Points
aaa 06/21/07 - 12:10 pm
0
0

I hear Julia Roberts is

I hear Julia Roberts is available.

burkecogirl
0
Points
burkecogirl 06/21/07 - 12:23 pm
0
0

I live in this area and I

I live in this area and I would say cancer cases are on the rise but who is to say they are from Plant Vogtle. I believe the presservatives in food are just as harmful and cancer causing than Plant Vogtle. The way you live and how you live your life is just as cancer causing as to living near Plant Vogtle. There are many who live in this area who would tell you that there is a rise in the cancer rate in this area but they are also the first to get in line for a job at Plant Vogtle if new reactors are to be built.

ssmith06
0
Points
ssmith06 06/21/07 - 12:29 pm
0
0

People who are not educated

People who are not educated about nuclear power are the ones who are terrified of it & like to use it as a culprit for anything they can tie it to. Three Mile Island was a scare, but there were no deaths or injuries associated with it. Everything was properly contained.

Chernobyl was a disaster that is widely attributed to the untrained operators who turned off many of the reactor's safety systems. They even pulled the control rods out further than regulations allow.

When properly operated, nuclear power is perfectly safe.

I'd like to see Mr. Zeller conduct a study showing the % of smokers in Burke County in relation to the National average. His Vogtle study holds no water.

Raindance
2
Points
Raindance 06/21/07 - 12:44 pm
0
0

Julia's not available at the

Julia's not available at the moment - she just had another kid.

Da Voice Inside Your Head
7
Points
Da Voice Inside Your Head 06/21/07 - 12:56 pm
0
0

Oh his study holds water

Oh his study holds water allright**Toilet Water! There are too many people willing to believe any left wing, bunny hugger propaganda they are fed. The biggest problem is the children in school are taught by the very people who try to pass this junk science off as real.Unfortunatly the Left Wingers dominate the educational system in the US.Compare the deaths DIRECTLY connected to Nuclear power with the ones They say are related to COAL fired power plants. They should be thrilled with expansion at Vogtle.Ted Kennedy is one of the largest supporters of the Anti-Nuclear movement (In more ways than one!). Remember*****More People Died at Chappiquidic (sp) Than at Three Mile Island!

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
6415
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 06/21/07 - 12:59 pm
0
0

Burke County is a farming

Burke County is a farming community. so yes, most people work outdoors. That being a given, I believe if you exclude the skin cancer cases and the cases from exposure to agricultural chemicals, and the cases that people inherit genetically from their ancestors, you would be surprised how low this number will actually go. I know of several people who have never spent time within 10 miles of the plant who have prostate cancer or skin cancer or ovarian or breast cancer. Also a large portion of the low income population uses tobacco, snuff and smokeless tobacco. It doesn't take rocket science..

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
6415
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 06/21/07 - 01:03 pm
0
0

Oh and popkorn, please give

Oh and popkorn, please give me the sources of those studies and when they were published and don't forget to include who paid for those studies. All these details tell a lot about how the study will lean when it gets published.
I could publish a study but I would love to have someone pay me to present their idea of what should be said.

godsglorygirl
0
Points
godsglorygirl 06/21/07 - 02:55 pm
0
0

Mr Zeller needs to stay up

Mr Zeller needs to stay up North and Leave us alone. He also needs to take in consideration the eating habits of these people he has so called studied. There are so many factors that could be contributing to the cancer. He is an IDOT and all the other folks out there that think nuclear power is dangerous. Even Al Gore has been quoted saying that it is safe.

aaa
2
Points
aaa 06/21/07 - 03:13 pm
0
0

Just heard something

Just heard something interesting. Apparently, France has put a lot of it's resources into building a whole bunch of "pebble" (?)nuclear reactors. Most of their electricity is now generated from nuclear energy. I'm not saying we want to be like the French, but I've never heard or read of an incident in France or higher cancer rates / deaths.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
6415
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 06/21/07 - 03:15 pm
0
0

France actually has a lower

France actually has a lower cancer rate than the us.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
6415
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 06/21/07 - 03:15 pm
0
0

France actually has a lower

France actually has a lower cancer rate than the us.

quentalex
0
Points
quentalex 06/21/07 - 06:46 pm
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0

No one is saying that Vogtle

No one is saying that Vogtle is the definitive cause of the increase in cancers in the surrounding area, but there is sufficient evedence in this study and similar studies that were done in areas around other nuclear reactors ito ndicate the likelihood of its culpability and warrants further study before rushing to build more reactors here.

Nuclear energy is being touted as "clean" because it does not produce greenhouse gasses but radioactivity and chemical pollution are far from cleanand affect our air, our water and our soil.

We here in Burke County already sit in the middle of the most radioative area in the entire country. Do we really want to add to that?

In anticipation of those who would ask why I don't just move, my reply is that I can't afford to.

The billions of dollars that Southern Companies plans to spend on new reactors could be redirected to safer and cleaner forms of enregy without loss of jobs.

austin0302
0
Points
austin0302 06/21/07 - 10:26 pm
0
0

They need to do a study on

They need to do a study on how many people died from cancer that worked out there in the 80's. If you dare take a job out there!!!!!!!!!!! I have put my father -in-law to rest GUESS where he worked. There is only one surviving person from the crew he was on. CANCER was the cause of death for all!!!

Da Voice Inside Your Head
7
Points
Da Voice Inside Your Head 06/22/07 - 08:00 am
0
0

Give me a break! Go back to

Give me a break! Go back to my orginal comment, Figures lie and liars figure. Who authored these "studies" and who paid for them? What was their agenda? What safer forms of energy are you talking about? These types of empty headed comments are the mainstay of the enviromental wacko's. I don't care what you do, any form of energy production has its down side.austin302 what did your father in law do out there. Unit 1 went on line May 1987, Unit 2 in May 1989. That doesn't leave a lot of time for exposure in the 80's. Did he smoke, have exposure to asbestos, work in a chemical plant? What were his other risk factors? How about his crew? It's easy to say Vogtle caused his cancer, but to prove it is another. If you can prove it did, call Ken Nugget or some other shyster lawyer.He can get you paid. I'll withhold any further judgement till I see the facts.

aaa
2
Points
aaa 06/22/07 - 08:30 am
0
0

Cancer risk is directly

Cancer risk is directly related to amount of radiation exposure, volume of your body exposed to the radiation, as well as time from the exposure. A man exposed to enough radiation in the mid to late '80's might be at risk around 2005 - 2010. It's very easy to blame something that's "invisible" - many lawyers have become rich off the "invisible". More ice cream is sold during the hot summer months. More people purchase new tires during the hot summer months. Do they purchase new tires because of the ice cream? Or do they purchase new tires because they are getting ready to go on that family vacation? Cause and effect is not such an easy link as it may seem. Depending upon what the cause and effect is, however, it can be an easy emotional link for those who don't understand either. They are easy victims for the lawyers and the sensationalist media. They then become willing victims when they hear "Ka-Ching $$$$$$$$".

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