A study has generated a lot of misunderstanding in recent days. Yet his conclusions are clear: no link between leukemia and nuclear.

The publication of a U.S. study on increasing the number of child leukemia near French nuclear power plants has been much written and generated many alarmist articles for several days.

Increased risks near nuclear power plants?

The study of the International Journal of Cancer focuses on the evolution of childhood leukemia (children under 15 years) near French nuclear power plants (within a radius of 5 km) and over a period of 17 years ( 1990-2007). The findings of this study are clear: the number of leukemia (blood cancer) in the vicinity of power plants is consistent with national averages. How then left the “buzz” and the media frenzy around this issue? A figure of the study put a flea in the ear of journalists. Between 2002 and 2007, scientists have noted a higher number of leukemia around nuclear power plants than in the rest of the French population.

Short times and small numbers: the limits of statistics

Can we assume that over the last five years of the study, the risk of leukemia would suddenly gone? While some journalists have taken such findings, researchers from the International Journal of Cancer says otherwise. They put forward firstly the fact that the statistical results are necessarily unstable (with ups and downs) when they focus on people and such limited geographic areas as small: between 2002 and 2007, the number of cases recorded is fourteen. The researchers also point the finger at the fact that, in contrast, over the period 1990-2002, the numbers of cases were lower than nearby stations nationally and throughout the study period (17 years) and these figures were balanced gaumont observed differences in the “short time”.

power-plants

Levels of radioactivity below the natural radioactivity

U.S. researchers are also questioning the scientific feasibility of a link between exposure to radioactivity near a central activity and health risks. The level of radioactivity observed near these sites is indeed close to 1,000 times lower than natural radioactivity recorded in parts of France such as Brittany and the Limousin. Levels of natural radioactivity that pushes important also to wonder whether their conclusions would not be necessary to conduct research to determine whether this radioactivity could not however have an impact on human health.