The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced on Tuesday (September 8) that it will cease funding on a cancer risk study associated with living near nuclear facilities, including the now-shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
"The NRC determined that continuing the work was impractical, given the significant amount of time and resources needed and the agency’s current budget constraints," according to a commission press release.
"We’re balancing the desire to provide updated answers on cancer risk with our responsibility to use Congressionally-provided funds as wisely as possible," says Brian Sheron, director of the commission’s Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research in the release. "The [National Academy of Sciences] estimates it would be at least the end of the decade before they would possibly have answers for us, and the costs of completing the study were prohibitively high."
Costs on the study, which would have included six active and non-functioning plants, including San Onofre and a Tennessee nuclear fuel facility, were estimated in excess of $8 million. Actual findings on cancer risks, if they were ever released, would have taken until 2025 — 15 years after the aborted project's launch.