Last Friday (7.12.2007), the results of a study on the incidence of cancer in children living in the vicinity of nuclear power plants were presented to representatives of the power supply companies at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). The BMU commissioned the German Child Cancer Register at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz with preparation of the study in 2003.
As the author, Professor Maria Blettner, expressly emphasised during this presentation of the results, it is not possible from an examination of the purely statistical and mathematical models to deduce any etiological relationship between nuclear power plants and the incidence of cancers in children. Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel stated in an information sheet to authorities and operators of nuclear power plants, "It is not possible to deduce (...) any etiological relationship from the results."
According to the scientists` information, the study records cancers in children under the age of five in a purely statistical and mathematical model and assigns a distance criterion to them. The statistics show 37 cases of leukaemia at a total of 16 nuclear power plant sites within a period of 23 years. A site-specific evaluation is not possible due to the low number of cases. Thus the locations in the model are combined into one notionally common site. When examining this theoretical model the result was a cluster of leukaemia illnesses within a five kilometre radius of the site. The author pointed out that it cannot be ruled out that this effect is the result of other variables which were not taken into account or even pure chance.
Similar studies using comparable model approaches also show clusters of child leukaemia cases at sites without nuclear facilities.
German Atomic Forum e. V. (DAtF)