Aces: Increased number of leukemia disorders

In the area of ​​the Asse nuclear waste storage facility, the number of leukemia diseases is disproportionately high. According to the NDR, this results from the as yet unpublished statistics from the Lower Saxony Cancer Registry.

The experts at the medical organization IPPNW ("International Doctors for the Prevention of Nuclear War / Doctors in Social Responsibility e.V.") see the figures as another "proof of the causal relationship between ionizing radiation and an increased risk of cancer and leukemia". More than 20 years ago, the increased number of leukemia cases (blood cancer) in children near the Krümmel nuclear power plant was under discussion. As early as 2007, scientists from the German Cancer Registry in Mainz showed that children up to four years of age are at greater risk of leukemia the closer they live to a nuclear power plant. In the period from 1980 to 2003, a total of 37 children fell ill with leukemia within a radius of five kilometers from the German reactors, with "a statistical average (...) of 17 cases being expected", the experts from the German Cancer Registry said a good three years ago . Accordingly, "about 20 new cases (...) were due to living in this area alone." In 2009, the renowned epidemiologist Eberhard Greiser came to the conclusion that the risk of leukemia in children under the age of five was within 20 to 50 kilometers of the atomic piles by 19 percent and in children up to 15 years of age by 13 percent. Now the statistics of the Lower Saxony Cancer Registry show a clearly increased leukemia rate in the vicinity of the Asse nuclear waste storage facility.

Increased leukemia rate demonstrated According to the NDR, "the parliamentary groups (...) affected by the results of the study" and SPD parliamentary group leader Stefan Schostock even spoke of a "shock" given the numbers. In the opinion of the IPPNW's nuclear-critical doctors, the current statistics from the cancer registration register confirm their fear that the nuclear power plants and nuclear waste storage facilities pose a significantly increased cancer risk. For example, among the less than 10,000 residents in the Asse community association, the illness of 5 male residents and 3 women would have corresponded to the national average, as Dorothea von Nicolai from the Health Department in Wolfenbüttel explained to “”. In fact, according to statistics, there were twelve cases of leukemia in men, which is more than twice the national average. Six cases of leukemia were diagnosed in women, but the number of thyroid cancer cases has tripled in the past five years, according to the NDR, according to statistics from the Lower Saxony Cancer Registry. Overall, however, the number of all cancers in the velvet community of Asse is in the normal range, explained Dorothea von Nicolai, head of the health department in the district of Wolfenbüttel. The rate of cancer was almost unchanged and with almost 400 cases observed, the number of cancer cases met the statistical expectations.

Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) are unrelated While the medical organization IPPNW sees the current figures as evidence of the health hazard, which is particularly due to the nuclear waste in Asse II, the operator of the Asse mine, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), reacted how as soon as the 2007 study on the increased cases of leukemia near nuclear power plants was announced. A causal connection between the increased leukemia diseases and the actual radioactive emissions from the reactors "cannot currently be proven," according to the BfS. Even if, according to the President of the BfS, Wolfram König, there are indications of a connection, there has been no evidence so far. The BfS emphasized not only the BfS but also representatives of the fact that the cluster of leukemia diseases found in the context of the evaluation of the so-called epidemiological cancer registry of the state, particularly among men in the vicinity of the Asse nuclear waste storage near Wolfenbüttel, is conceivable Integrated municipality of Asse.

The BfS added that there were "no indications of emissions from the current operation of the aces, which allow a connection with diseases in the population of the area today or in the future". Only recently had the evaluations of soil and arable crops shown "that there is no dangerous situation in the vicinity of the aces". In addition, "no increased radioactive contamination of the soil, air, water and agricultural products, as well as needles and leaves, was found in the past year," said the BfS.

Exact background of the high leukemia rate unclear Why the number of leukemia cases in the vicinity of the nuclear waste depot or also in the vicinity of nuclear power plants was particularly high, however, the BfS could not explain. In view of the current figures, however, further investigations are now to be initiated in order to determine the causes of the increased leukemia cases more precisely. The IPPNW, on the other hand, is convinced that there is a connection between the low and medium-level nuclear waste stored in around 126,000 barrels from 1967 and 1978 and the accumulation of leukemia diseases. For its part, the BfS has always emphasized that the consequences of incorrectly storing nuclear waste only affect the mine itself, i.e. Although radioactive salt brine escapes deep in the salt dome, it cannot reach the surface. Even though the BfS has already rated the Asse salt dome as unsuitable for the permanent storage of nuclear waste and plans to evacuate the camp due to water ingress and the risk of collapse, the health risk should not be underestimated, the IPPNW warns. For example, the medical organization demands that the federal government finally adjust the calculation basis for the radiation protection regulation, since every nuclear power plant constantly emits radiation in the form of radioactive substances (isotopes), which poses a health risk to the population.

Even if the Ministry of Social Affairs in Hanover now wants to initiate an investigation of the increased number of leukemia cases in the entire municipality of Asse by a corresponding group of experts, there are fears, however, that as with the studies on the leukemia cases in the vicinity of nuclear power plants, no plausible justification can be determined . Because this has always been the case when the increased occurrence of leukemia, especially in children who lived near nuclear power plants, had to be examined.

Insufficient data evaluation: cancer is also favored by other factors The news magazine "Der Spiegel" was rather critical in view of the published data - especially with regard to reporting. Because the data of the Lower Saxony Epidemiological Cancer Registry (EKN) are completely anonymized and only contain the sex of the cancer patient, without giving the exact place of residence, which would be important for the assessment of a radiation-related cancer risk. Other factors that play a decisive role in the individual cancer risk, such as the job and age of those affected, are also not stated, the criticism of the news magazine. Nikolaus Becker, who heads the Baden-Württemberg epidemiological cancer registry at the German Cancer Research Center, also criticized the NDR's reporting: "You have to check something like this before you go public with such figures". In his view, the data do not allow any conclusions to be drawn as to whether there is a connection with possible radiation exposure or not.

The magazine "Spiegel Online" added that cancer can be triggered not only by radiation, but also chemically or by viruses. If a serious statement is to be made as to whether a single trigger such as radiation from the aces is responsible for an increased risk of leukemia, on the one hand large numbers of cases are necessary and on the other hand all other possible causes must be excluded. According to the news magazine, the data from the EKN would not give either. (fp)

Also read:
Nuclear power plants do not favor malformations?

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