Study finds Rising Infant Death Rates Attributable to the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant

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Peer-reviewed study documents rising infant mortality rates over the past 25 years in zip codes surrounding Diablo Canyon

Diablo Canyon Power Plant

The article documents “a remarkable and statistically-significant 28% overall increase in infant mortality rates in the coastal strip group relative to the inland control group.”

Today, the World Business Academy announced the publication of a scientific study that it commissioned to closely examine recent public health data showing abnormally high levels of infant deaths near the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

This study by Dr. Christopher Busby appears in the peer-reviewed Jacobs Journal of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (See attached copies of “Article Summary” and of full article, “Is there evidence of adverse health effects near US nuclear installations? Infant mortality in coastal communities near the Diablo Canyon nuclear power station in California, 1989-2012”).

The article documents “a remarkable and statistically-significant 28% overall increase in infant mortality rates in the coastal strip group relative to the inland control group.” According to the study, a pattern of rising infant death rates (in the first year of birth) has occurred since Diablo Canyon opened in the mid-1980s at Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County, California.

Dr. Busby’s study found that “The increases over the period correlate significantly with cumulative releases of Tritium from the nuclear plant to the sea.” Furthermore, during this same period, infant mortality rates fell for the whole of California and for the local inland control group in the county, providing additional evidence that federally approved, routine radiation releases from U.S. nuclear power plants damage infant health.

Dr. Christopher Busby is an expert on the health effects of radiation and has published extensively on the issue. He was Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster in Ireland until retirement in 2012. He has been Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk since 1998 and was a member of two British Government committees investigating radiation effects. He has served as a reviewer for more than twelve scientific and medical journals and is currently on the Editorial Board of Environmental Health and Toxicology and Jacobs Journal of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Jerry Brown, director of the Academy’s Safe Energy Project, stated that, “the Busby study provides further confirmation of significant potential human health dangers that could result from the continued operation of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant through 2025, as recently proposed by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), the utility that owns and operates this nuclear plant.”

Academy President Rinaldo S. Brutoco states that, “The World Business Academy plans to submit this study in support of the testimony provided to the California State Lands Commission on June 28, 2106, which should prove to be very valuable in its lawsuit against the Commission filed on August 2, 2016.”

During the California State Lands Commission public hearing of June 28, 2016, on PG&E’s request for a lease extension for Diablo Canyon, the World Business Academy informed the Commission of this “soon-to-be-released” study by Dr. Busby and of its ominous implications that infants would die from the plant’s continued operation. The Academy implored the Commission to examine these radiation-health issues by means of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in order to verify whether the data in this study are accurate; however, the Commission refused to order an EIR for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

Mr. Brutoco observed that “We believe the Commission's failure, among other things, to examine the validity of these critical infant health statistics in an Environmental Impact Report was an arbitrary and capricious decision, which violates the State Lands Commission’s responsibilities under the California Environmental Quality Act and the Public Trust doctrine.”

Brutoco continued, “This is why we felt honor bound to sue the Commission on August 2, 2016, arguing that the many ‘unusual circumstances’ present at Diablo Canyon, including the adverse effects of radiation releases on public health, require the Commission to conduct a full environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act.” (See attached copy of lawsuit, Petition for Writ of Mandamus.)

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Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D
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