BWF President John Burris to Chair Cancer Risk Committee

February 3, 2011

A National Research Council committee headed by Burroughs Wellcome Fund President Dr. John Burris has been provisionally appointed under the auspices of the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board to plan a study assessing cancer risks in populations living near U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission-licensed nuclear facilities.
This assessment will be carried out in two consecutive phases.
The committee is responsible for a Phase 1 scoping study to identify scientifically sound approaches for carrying out the cancer epidemiology study that has been requested by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It will address methodological approaches for assessing off-site radiation dose and cancer epidemiology.
The results of this Phase 1 scoping study will be used to inform the design of the cancer risk assessment, which will be carried out in Phase 2.
The overall project will provide an up-to-date re-examination of the 1990 U.S. National Institutes of Health - National Cancer Institute (NCI) report, “Cancer in Populations Living Near Nuclear Facilities.”  The NRC uses the 1990 NCI report as a primary resource when communicating with the public about cancer mortality risk in counties that contain or are adjacent to nuclear power facilities. In the new study, the NRC is interested in having the NAS evaluate cancer diagnosis rates, in addition to mortality risk, for populations living near decommissioned, operating and proposed NRC-licensed nuclear facilities.
Dr. Burris formerly served on the Board of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, a bi-national Japan-United States research organization, in Hiroshima, Japan.  The foundation is dedicated to following the survivors of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Nearly 45 percent of the survivors are still alive, and the studies at RERF have provided information to better understand the long-term effects of radiation.
This study is being sponsored by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is a private independent foundation located in Research Triangle Park, N.C.


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