Assessing risk to children from nuclear power

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A study has been launched in Switzerland to investigate whether children living near nuclear reactors have a higher risk of cancer.

The study - Childhood Cancer and Nuclear Power Plants in Switzerland - follows an analysis by German scientists last year that found a possible link between higher rates of leukaemia in children who live near nuclear power plants.

Researchers will study cancer rates among Swiss minors born between 1985 and 2007. It will compare the data against the distances the children lived from reactors when and before they became ill.

The Federal Health Office and the Swiss Cancer League are funding the study, which will cost SFr820,000 ($726,467). Results are not expected until 2011.

Switzerland has five nuclear reactors that produce 40 per cent of the country's electricity. Following a ten-year moratorium on new nuclear reactors installed in 1990, new projects today are subject to a national vote.

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