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Nuclear Energy: Danger Only in Case of Accidents?

Authors
Scherb, Hagen (Helmholtz Zentrum München)
Search for Hagen Scherb in Research Programmes Information System
Voigt, Kristina (Helmholtz Zentrum München)
Search for Kristina Voigt in Research Programmes Information System
Kusmierz, Ralf (Helmholtz Zentrum München)
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Chapter Environmental Protection and Health
Volume Proceedings of the 28th Conference on Environmental Informatics - Informatics for Environmental Protection, Sustainable Development and Risk Management
Conference EnviroInfo 2014 - ICT for Energy Effieciency
Oldenburg, 2014
Year 2014
Abstract of the Article
The environmental impacts of nuclear energy are highly underestimated. Nuclear weapons, atomic
bomb tests, and nuclear accidents are considered a danger for the environment and a human cancer
risk. However, childhood leukemia is consistently elevated near nuclear power plants and the
Chernobyl accident entailed elevated human birth sex ratios across Europe. We studied the annual
sex ratio near nuclear facilities in Germany, France, and Switzerland at the municipality level. We
will demonstrate that low doses of ionizing radiation cause effects in human beings. This is shown
by strongly consistent spatial-temporal shifts in the human sex ratio trends in the vicinity of
nuclear facilities. In the chosen countries complete official data on over 70 million gender specific
annual births at the municipality level are available. By Lambert-93 coordinates (France) and GK3
coordinates (Germany, Switzerland) we determined the minimum distances of municipalities from
major nuclear facilities. Spatial-temporal trend analyses of the annual sex ratio depending on
municipalities’ minimum distances from nuclear facilities were carried out. Applying ordinary
linear logistic regression (jump or broken-stick functions) and non-linear logistic regression
(Rayleigh functions) we demonstrate that the sex ratio at birth shows the influence of mutagenic
ionizing radiation on human health. As important environmental chemical contaminants are also
mutagenic, the usefulness of the sex ratio at birth as a genetic health indicator can be inferred by
analogy.
Pages 119 - 126
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