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Relationship between nuclear waste storage and cancer remains unclear. The survey of cancer patients continues in the area of the aces.
The elucidation of the increased number of cancer cases in the vicinity of the dilapidated Asse nuclear waste storage facility has not yet been completed. The responsible working group announced at its meeting yesterday that further surveys are necessary in order to arrive at reliable statements.
After the Epidemiological Cancer Register of Lower Saxony (EKN) identified a significantly increased number of cancers (especially leukemia in men, thyroid cancer in women) in the vicinity of the former Asse salt mine at the end of last year, a working group called in by the federal government, the state and the district of Wolfenbüttel provided the information a possible connection between the cancer and the nuclear waste storage facility. However, too few of those affected took part in the relevant surveys in order to be able to make a valid statement, the working group said at its meeting on Wednesday.
Relationship between nuclear waste storage and cancer diseases unclear The working group consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Environment, the Epidemiological Cancer Register of Lower Saxony (EKN), the State Health Office and the Federal Office for Radiation Protection initiated a comprehensive survey with which the individual cancer risk of those affected and a possible one Influence of the nuclear waste storage should be checked. However, the presentation of the results on Wednesday disappointed. The results so far have not been able to contribute to the elucidation of a total of 47 cases of leukemia, lymphoma and thyroid cancer in the entire municipality of Asse, as too few of those affected have so far taken part in the survey, said yesterday. Although 164 citizens of the entire municipality of Asse had registered and 150 of them had answered questions about individual cancer risk such as job, place of residence and family risk factors, only 15 of the 47 cancer patients took part in the survey. "At least 20 should still register in order to be able to make a scientifically reliable statement," said Gabriele Windus of the Lower Saxony Ministry of Social Affairs. The cancer is recorded anonymously by the EKN, so that a direct letter to those affected is not possible and the working group is dependent on voluntary participation.
District administrator requests affected cancer patients to participate. In particular, "those who live in the entire municipality of Asse and are suffering from leukemia or lymphoma and thyroid cancer" are invited to participate in the survey, explained district administrator Jörg Röhmann (SPD). Since some of those affected may have already died, the working group also relied on the support of the doctors and would involve them more with an extra informational event, continued Röhmann. The survey will continue until sufficient leukemia, lymphoma and thyroid cancer patients have reported. In view of the fact that 39 new cancer cases were identified in the entire community in the past year alone, it shouldn't be a particular problem to find enough people to answer the questions. However, almost a third of all cancer patients from the entire municipality of Asse have already taken part in the survey, so that the public is right to demand the first results.
Increased cancer rate around the aces coincidence? Although the SPD district administrator Röhmann regards the fact that there is no spatial accumulation of cancer cases within the entire municipality of Asse as positive, he was also unable to rule out a connection with the dilapidated nuclear waste storage facility. Unlike the federal government, which had already claimed before the first investigation that a connection between the increased cancer rate and the nuclear waste storage facility was ruled out or the increased incidence of cancer in the entire municipality of Asse was a statistical accident. The Lower Saxony Ministry of the Environment, headed by Hans-Heinrich Sander, who is more known as a friend of nuclear power, confirmed from the start that 39 new cancer cases represented an unusual accumulation in the area of the dilapidated nuclear waste facility last year. So far, however, the public institutions are apparently not ready to make a clearer statement. The fact that the working group is still unable to produce any helpful results after three months fits the picture.
Official connection with cancer always denied Because whenever a possible connection such as between leukemia diseases (especially in children) and nuclear power plants was discussed in the past, the result of the official investigations in the end was that there was no connection. Although renowned scientists had previously clearly proven this scientifically. For example, researchers from the German Cancer Registry have recently shown that children up to four years of age are at greater risk of leukemia the closer they are to a nuclear power plant. In the period from 1980 to 2003, a total of 37 children were diagnosed with leukemia within a radius of five kilometers from the German reactors, whereas, on average, only 17 cases could be expected, the experts said at the time. Neither the Federal Office for Radiation Protection nor politics drew any conclusions from this - on the contrary: today nuclear power plants in Germany have far greater support in the federal government than in 2007.
Cancer patients should help educate people about whether there is an increased risk of cancer in the vicinity of the Asse nuclear waste depot, so that the citizens of the entire community do not unknowingly expose themselves to the risk of cancer every day. So it is extremely unsatisfactory for the residents that no results are available so far. But here, too, local citizens are encouraged to participate more in the education. Those affected should urgently take part in the survey in order to get the 20 additional participants together for a scientifically reliable statement and to help clarify the possible connection between the cancer and the dilapidated nuclear waste storage facility. (fp)
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